27 May 2010

Off Campus


Kaziranga National Park, Assam, India

Clearly not in the lowcountry.

The family slides in my dad's old wooden box are dusty and brittle with age. It seems hardly worth the trouble scanning them in, but occasionally there is a neat effect. This is a one-horned rhino in the high grass of Kaziranga National Park in the tea country of Assam. I was riding astride an elephant with my legs spread so wide it took a day to get my knees to touch.

There are no dates on the slide frames but I was young then with braids to my waist. Good memories. It was the first real family holiday I remember taking, driving from the hills of Shillong up into the plains with ten of us squeezed into the yellow willy's jeep.

Monkeys on the roof, tiger paw prints in the mud, snakes in the lake, parrots in the trees. An English tea planter invited us in for tea. We walked down to the river one morning and all the elephants had come for their bath lounging back in the water for the mahouts to scrub their back and spraying the babies with their trunks. When friends talk of swimming with the dolphins I say, I swam with the elephants.

It all looks so civilized now. Go. Ride an elephant into the tall grass through the mist at dawn.