Posted in Africa, Elephants, Nature, Nonfiction, Photography, Travel, Writing

Your Daily Elephant: An Excerpt from my Book

photograph by Cheryl Merrill
photograph by Cheryl Merrill

Morula stands square on, keeping her eyes upon me. Her cobbled forehead broadens from her nose upward in a triangular shape. The top of a tree is visible over her right shoulder, as if she has a giant nosegay tucked behind her ear. Short bristles like an old man’s buzz cut outline the top of her head.

Because of the way she’s standing, ears flattened against her shoulders, Morula seems slim, her skull almost hollow. The tip of her trunk flops over itself in a loose coil and points down like a curved arrow. It begins to twitch in an irregular rhythm. I take the lens cap from my camera and glimpse a tiny reflection of myself in its mirror. Is this what she sees – another one of those small humans, with its odd upright stature?   Does she see details: my hat, my camera, my idiotic grin?

I take a goofy photograph of Morula – it will look like she’s bored and playing with the only thing at hand – her trunk.


Cheryl Merrill’s essays have been published in Fourth Genre, Pilgrimage, Brevity, Seems, South Loop Review, Ghoti, Alaska Quarterly Review, Adventum and Isotope. “Singing Like Yma Sumac” was selected for the Best of Brevity 2005 and Creative Nonfiction #27. It was also included in the anthology Short Takes: Model Essays for Composition, 10th Edition. Another essay, “Trunk,” was chosen for Special Mention in Pushcart 2008. She is currently working on a book about elephants: Larger than Life: Living in the Shadows of Elephants.

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