The largest land animal on Earth can stand up to 13 feet tall and weigh up to 15,400 pounds, yet it is still a vulnerable creature. Perhaps this is because it has one of the largest hearts in the world, weighing up to 46 pounds. This shows in the creature’s endangerment and its compassion. Elephant populations have decreased rapidly in recent decades, primarily to habitat loss and ivory poachers. Elephants also experience emotions such as anger, joy, and grief. Perhaps the most astounding, though logical, example of the elephant’s vulnerability is its avoidance of certain acacia trees because of the ants that live on them. Elephant trunks are full of sensitive nerve endings, but it is incredible to see vulnerability on that scale - even the largest of us must succumb to obstacles, even when they seem so small.
I wear an elephant pendant around my neck daily. It seems to trumpet its existence to the world for all of the notice it’s gotten; with each compliment, the feet of the elephant crush into my ribcage the way that elephants were used as executioners up until the 19th century, breaking prisoners in India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand under its weight. An animal recognized for its strength, compassion, and is the best possible symbol to represent my grandfather, and I wear the necklace in honor of his recent death in August, and each compliment is a reminder that keeps him with me.
The African Elephant is larger than the Asian Elephant, even in the size of its ears, which resemble the shape of the continent. My grandfather was six-foot-two, towering over the rest of my family. When I was younger, I thought he was the tallest man in the world. Ten months of cancer claiming his body made him so small, skin and bo...
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...ngton -- small, uniform gravestones lined in perfect rows. It is rumored that the caskets in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery are buried vertically, though my father swears he saw them place the casket horizontally, my boyfriend swears he saw it go down vertically, and the rest of us somehow missed the actual lowering of the coffin. I wondered if the term “six feet under” applied to vertically-buried caskets: is it still considered six-feet-under when your grandfather is 6’2’’ and buried vertically in a casket? My grandfather is one of 41,102 people buried at the cemetery, a veteran of the Air Force, with a burial complete with military honors. There is the twenty-one gun salute, the playing of Taps on the trumpet, and an American flag draped over the casket, then folded 13 times and placed in the hands of my grandmother, who cannon possibly swallow this bite.
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