pink elephants –CONNECTION– mpumalanga, south africa


anna and jamie

Elephants emerge everywhere in pop-culture, to sell product, and in ancient-traditions, as symbols of wisdom, nobility and gentle strength.

It is obvious that large, apparently gentle, and beautiful animals are major selling points when it comes to the protection of wildlife. But how can the graphic of an Elephant or a Polar Bear protect Hungerford’s Crawling Beetle, a tiny yellowish, brown creature found in streams connected to the Great Lakes. It can’t unfortunately but humans seem to be attracted to big, cute and cuddly or colourful, edgy and therefore ‘totally cool’. Yellowish brown is not that hip in tiny crawly form.

And so on a hot winters day (August 2008) in a north-eastern nook of South Africa I too was enticed by a lovely pair of elephants presented on two dangly earrings. What’s more, they were pink elephants, and they’d been painted in circus like attire for my fashion conscious purposes, elephants that pop.

I had just completed a short hike to view God’s Window with Anna and Jamie, two friends from North Carolina. Gods Window is just west of Kruger National Park and near the little town of Graskop. For us city dweller / consumer types it connects the experience of viewing natural objects in nature with our spiritual sensibility AND with product. Like many stops along the Kruger National Park route, vendors wait on tourists filtering in from around the world.
Generally not a shopper, the experience simply stresses me out, I will avoid stuff and anyone pushing me towards a particular product. In this instance, however, there were few tables, it was a dusty warm day and the absence of department store music put my body at ease. Pink elephants will now connect me to the details of that day. Sometimes stuff makes you remember.

Pink elephants = A slow stumble towards the precipice of Gods view, its window; and I can dress her / him / it up in whatever clothing I wish. Maybe I am the God of Gods Window.

Pink elephants = road trip across South Africa, with two gutsy and glorious girls from North Carolina (from a cultural reality that through their stories, I learnt a lot about).

No human could deny, Gods Window has a spectacular view and is even a spiritual experience (whatever that may mean). Maybe it was made more spectacular by the fact that, the projection of my life has increasingly steered me towards the city and away from a small town setting. Everything not made by a being looking like me feels unique and of-course romantic (that’s a selling point). Aaaaaaaaahhh wins you over every time.landscape_vert


One response to “pink elephants –CONNECTION– mpumalanga, south africa

  1. You know, erin, there are these funny little mammals, kanagroo rats, and they make homes/huts out of grass, and hide stuff inside of them. pieces of glass, lint, etc. I guess we aren’t the only species obsessed with stuff. i have my beads from that day, and they bring me back every time. brains are funny.

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