In some ways, it feels like Lady has been here for much longer than she has. Part of that reason is how she has already shifted herself to “Sanctuary Time.”
Sanctuary Time is an innate understanding that, even when you have somewhere to be, you don’t need to hurry. Human time simply stops for the elephants. Once a new elephant settles in, they realize it’s ok to take their time, because everything is about them now.
Sanctuary Time means it’s ok to stop and smell. It’s ok to go the long way or the hard way because this clump of grass looks better, or for no reason at all. You can absolutely take a break because it would feel really nice to stand in the creek for a few minutes and play in the water. Part of our philosophy is not rushing the elephants; because it’s all up to them. This isn’t just an emotional philosophy, but a physical one too.
We are excited by (and encouraging) Lady’s desire to explore and embrace using the entire habitat. That sadly doesn’t change the severity of the condition of her feet. She needs regular treatments; and due to our protected-contact management philosophy, those treatments must occur at the barn. At some point, her feet will improve, and she’ll be able to go longer without treatment, but we aren’t there yet. Her feet are still at a place where they need regular, intensive care.
When Maia, Ramba, and Rana venture out, they come back on their own; but Lady doesn’t have that routine at this point. Usually our new arrivals learn to do it from the other elephants; because they choose to stay together. As Lady isn’t spending time with the other elephants yet, it’s up to the humans to teach her how to come back for treatment.
This means we spent all of yesterday afternoon coaxing her back to the barn. She did wonderfully, and she did it on Sanctuary Time. She seemed to really enjoy yesterday’s meander back to the barn – and, yes, it was a meander, with plenty of breaks to stop and wander. There are no straight lines at the sanctuary for healing, or grief, or for walking back to the barn. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Just a note to say if you guys really like the videos and photos we’ve been sharing lately, it’s in thanks to FiLMiC Pro. They are one of the documentarians filming our recent elephant transports/rescues. During Lady’s rescue, Scott dropped his phone; and they generously left us their iPhone10 when they went back to the US. It’s a much, much better quality phone than what Scott had previously and it’s giving all of you better pictures and video, so thanks so much! We are constantly blown away by the generosity of everyone we meet. Thank you again, FiLMiC!!