Bath Time!

Orphaned baby elephants take a mud bath at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. The elephant orphanage looks after 29 baby elephants orphaned by human-wildlife conflicts and poaching, among other causes. (Dai Kurokawa, wsj.com, April 10, 2018)


Guess.What.Day.It.Is? (Khuus, khuus, khuus.)

Springtime in the Gobi is as life-giving as it is treacherous. As the -45-degree lows of winter yield to 100-degree summertime highs, the traditional livestock of the area’s Mongolian herders start to give birth. Risks are many. Shaggy Bactrian camels (two humps!) are pregnant for 13 months, and usually give birth to a calf every second year. But the harsh, dusty climate is unforgiving, and it is not uncommon for mother or baby to perish during or after delivery. The result is often orphaned babies and grieving mothers who need one another—but don’t have any filial bonds.

After centuries in the desert, the nomadic herders have developed a unique musical ritual to help form these bonds, or reestablish one when a camel mother has rejected her own offspring. In the half-light of dusk or dawn, a musician wields his instrument, usually a horsehead fiddle, known as a morin khuur, or a Mongolian flute. Everyone present wears their best clothes, out of respect for the rite. The mother and calf are tied together, and, on the orange dunes, another musician begins to chant: “khuus, khuus, khuus.”

At first, observers say, the mother either ignores the calf altogether or lashes out by biting or spitting at it. The “coaxer,” at this point, adjusts the melody based on the behavior. The singer begins to weave elements of poetry or song into the tune, to mimic the sound of the camel’s walking, running, and bellowing. After many hours of this, it is said, the mother and calf begin to weep. The spell is cast, and the animals are joined for life.

~ Natasha Front, excerpt from The Transcendental Ritual of Mongolian Camel Coaxing May Soon Be Lost Forever. Khuus, khuus, khuus. (Atlas Obscura, August 31, 2017)


Notes:

  • Khuus = “Service” in Somali (via Google Translate)
  • Photo/Article: Thank you Nan.
  • Background on Caleb/Wednesday/Hump Day Posts and Geico’s original commercial: Let’s Hit it Again

38° F. It’s still cold out there.

elephants-winter-cold

“Young, orphaned elephants are bundled up against the cold before going to bed at night at an animal rescue center in Kaziranga, in India’s Assam state.”


Source: wsj.com by Roger Allen/I-Mages/Zuma Press)

 

Lies rule the land. They have numbed us to the core.

child-girl-womb-mother

“…We’re now trained to expect the worst. Lies rule the land…They have numbed us to the core. They are, as Engber says, “the ironic acid that corrodes our sense of wonder.” Ergo, we believe nothing. Everyone is suspect. The authentic thing is never really authentic. Society’s collective goodwill, the natural human instinct to trust you when you say this is legit and honest and true – no really it is I swear – this instinct has been molested. Perhaps beyond repair. You think?

Maybe. Maybe our collective Hoax Fatigue has gotten so bad that we’ll soon reach critical mass, and it will all flip around completely, so when another “First Kiss” comes along, instead of feeling a giddy thrill in the heart, we’ll instead feel bitter and disbelieving, waiting for the rug to be pulled at any second. What a fun way to live.

Nah.

The evidence certainly seems ample. It’s not just viral videos, after all: the interval between when any uplifting new offering – a video, a song, a movie, a romance, a president, a newborn puppy, you name it – is released, and when than thing is crushed by sarcasm or jadedness, this interval has been compressed in recent years to near-instantaneous, to the point of absurdity. To the point where nothing even matters and it’s almost useless to even try.

Almost. But not quite. Happily, “First Kiss”-style phenoms still light up the Internet, even in this bitter age. Thankfully, the authentic thing can still break through the ice of corrosive cynicism. Against seemingly impossible odds and for almost no budget, millions of people can still made just a little bit giddy in the heart. Amazing. And they didn’t even slip us the tongue.”

~ Mark Morford, A Kiss for the Hopelessly Jaded

 



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