An excerpt from my book:
Leaves from mopane branches litter the ground around my feet, discarded by the elephants as they strip bark. In the daylight the leaves are reddish-colored and striped with green. But tonight they are bleached to the color of tinsel by the moon, a hundred silver butterflies.
I look up at Doug. “Is it true that one night you slept curled up in Jabu’s trunk?”
“Not very comfortably.” His grin broadens. “Hey, here comes Jabu. Here’s my boy.”
It’s hard to believe an elephant weighing six tons with a huge, restless trunk could sneak up on us. But Jabu has. Like tires with low air pressure, his cushioned feet smother twigs, branches and the sound of his own footfalls. He is amazingly silent as he stands before us. He shifts his weight from one side to the other.
As if it was a curious eye on the end of a long, snaking probe, the tip of his trunk hovers two inches from my nose. And I’ll bet he’s pleased he’s making me nervous.
He sucks my scent out of the air as delicately as picking petals from a daisy.
Trunk raised. Trunk dropped. Trunk raised. Trunk dropped.
He loves me. He loves me not.
His massive head is a continent, wrinkled by tectonic plates of life. Tufts of hair stick out of his ears, an old man’s ears.
Doug motions me closer.
Standing on night-cooled sand, I lean my cheek against Jabu’s leg. The chalk of my bones softens. As the weight of night drapes across my shoulders, we warm each other, both of us children made from the dust of stars.