It is another day in Kenya. Another hot day for Lox and her band. Lox enjoyed the night rains, so cooling and helpful in washing away the insects and parasites that constantly irritate her skin. She slept her usual four hours, as elephants only take that time for their rest.
Lox is the matriarch of her kin. Her group numbers around twenty although they see other bands of elephants throughout their lush and green grasses of the Masai Mara Reserve. Lox wakes and immediately looks for her son Surus. He is a rambunctious young elephant growing up so fast. Soon he will be leaving the band and wander the reserve as male elephants do.
Lox became the matriarch of her kin when her mother passed away years ago. Her mother was a great leader. She led the biggest band of elephants in the reserve for many years. Lox kept her band together. Her sisters, aunts, her two daughters and other female elephants with their young continue to be the biggest band of elephants in the region.
The savannah of the reserve is busy now as the season is at its peak with the migration of wildebeest and zebras. Lox knows her region well. She has a great memory and leads the band to the best water stops and areas of abundant grass to eat. Watering holes are a gathering place for many animals and Lox is on her guard as Surus is enjoying the water with others. The reserve does not have the threat of poachers but there are abundant crocodile and lions to prey on the little and vulnerable ones of her kin. A few years ago Lox almost lost Surus to an infection that claimed the lives of a few other young calves of their kin. Surus remarkably lived, likely due to his mother’s and the other elephants care.
On her way guiding her group back from the watering hole Lox and her sisters come upon a carcass. It is the remains of one of their own. Lox approaches the area. She finds tusks, bones and a remaining ear. Scavengers have eaten away most of the flesh. She and others stand around the remains, smelling the area, picking up the bones, pushing pieces of the dead relative. Lox and the others know this one…. It was one of her sons. He left the kin only a year prior.
Lox and her kin stand a long time at the site. Lox stomps a few times on the ground. It sends a subsonic rumble for others to hear. She mourns her son.
The group leaves the area after some time. Lox wanted to stay longer and be with her dead son. But being the matriarch of the kin she knows she has to move on. She has to find more food for the group. She has Surus and the other young of her kin to watch over. Everyday there are threats to her kin and she needs to be on alert. The other adult elephants of her group need her.
Lox continues on. A rainstorm approaches the group. Lox looks up and sees the storm clouds. She is an old elephant but likely will have many more years to roam the earth. It will be good there is rain soon. The insects and parasites bite and itch her skin. She will welcome the relief, even if it is a short time.
Did you know that elephants are intelligent animals? They feel joy, anger and some scientists believe they exhibit grief behavior when they find remains of their species. I wrote this story as a gift to myself. As I get older I am wanting to do things I did not have time for in the past. Creative writing was never my strength but I am inspired by Sam and his writing skills.
Think about Lox. Does she have some qualities of someone you know? 🙂