Both from the NY Times:
The precipitous collapse of elephant culture:
I thought back to a moment in Queen Elizabeth National Park this past June. As Nelson Okello and I sat waiting for the matriarch and her calf to pass, he mentioned to me an odd little detail about the killing two months earlier of the man from the village of Katwe, something that, the more I thought about it, seemed to capture this particularly fraught moment we�ve arrived at with the elephants. Okello said that after the man�s killing, the elephant herd buried him as it would one of its own, carefully covering the body with earth and brush and then standing vigil over it.
Even as we�re forcing them out, it seems, the elephants are going out of their way to put us, the keepers, in an ever more discomfiting place, challenging us to preserve someplace for them, the ones who in many ways seem to regard the matter of life and death more devoutly than we. In fact, elephant culture could be considered the precursor of our own, the first permanent human settlements having sprung up around the desire of wandering tribes to stay by the graves of their dead. “The city of the dead,” as Lewis Mumford once wrote, “antedates the city of the living.”
When a group of villagers from Katwe went out to reclaim the man�s body for his family�s funeral rites, the elephants refused to budge. Human remains, a number of researchers have observed, are the only other ones that elephants will treat as they do their own. In the end, the villagers resorted to a tactic that has long been etched in the elephant�s collective memory, firing volleys of gunfire into the air at close range, finally scaring the mourning herd away.
And this article might only be interesting if you’re a fan of ballet, but even if you’re not, this paragraph caught my eye:
“I�m still exploring, opening my eyes to the fact that the journey will end,” she said bluntly. “I don�t blind myself, but I still have a few things I want to do.” There is one prerequisite: there has to be “a mystery,” as she puts it. “Doing new work, you see yourself differently. You learn what you�re afraid of.”
Same is true for playing with words.