In the middle of the night, awake again, I con Tobias into telling me a story in the hope of getting back to sleep again. Here's the story of the Elephant and the Pea Vine....
There once was a wondrous Elephant, he was at his prime, massive, grey, huge flapping ears and beautiful ivory tusks. The elephant was very sure of himself. His great size meant that he was respected by most of the other animals around him. He thought himself quite a unique creature and the fact others moved for him, went a little to his head. It was a particularly hot summer and the ground began to crack and move, as the moisture was sucked out of the air. The elephant was forced to move around in search of both food and water as the terrain began to crack and dry out with the lack of water.
The Elephant began to get annoyed with his environment, he began to get frustrated with a lack of control over what was happening in his world. He began to stomp his feet in outrage of the land not providing what he needed, what he perceived that he as the wonderful elephant that he was should be entitled to. He raged at his world not being the way he wanted it to be. He was extremely cross that the earth would not behave the way he wanted it to. One day as he travelled further and further in search of food and water, he came across a small pea vine growing in the crack of a rock, nurtured by the sun, the dew at night, this small plant fought for survival in its own way. This small vine shone a beautiful green in the dryness of the stark land he inhabited.
The Elephant reached down with his trunk to pluck the pea plant from its crack. "Wait!" cried the pea vine. "Why are you going to pull me from my home? What have I done to you?" The Elephant stopped and flapped an ear towards the pea vine. "Why shouldn't I? I am hungry and thirsty and you seem to be doing just fine, why shouldn't I pull you out when I have to suffer this land and you seem okay?" The pea vine was indignant. "Excuse me! How can you not see that I have had it just as hard as you?" The Elephant laughed, "How could you have it just as hard as me. I have this rotten place I live in with large cracks that hurt my feet,walk for hours looking for scarce food and no water. You on the other hand have not had to move at all and you shine a beautiful green in this bone dry land".
The pea vine rustled it's leaves in frustration. "I MAY NOT be as big or as wonderful as you, but I am special in my own right and all of us in this land have no control over our world. We have to learn to value what we have, the seasons that change, the rain, the food and the value of life. Just because I am small does not mean I have had it easier or harder than you. The reason I am so green is I have valued what I have been given, I have appreciated all that I have and I am content in my world". The Elephant snorted, and said "I do not believe that a plant as small as you can make a difference in this world, just by that attitude".
The pea vine drew it's self up, "I do not need to change your mind, I am content in who I am. I also know that left here to continue my life, I can produce flowers that feed hungry birds, I produce also seeds that feed small mice, birds spread my seeds across the land and my seeds, grow like me to feed and nourish others. I am content at my part in the world. The cycle of life. Are you?" questioned the pea vine.
The Elephant thought about it for a while. He had been so busy moaning and whining about the changes in his world that he could not control, he hadn't thought about the value of being alive, how he contributed to others, what his impact on others was and mostly how he thought about himself in the scale of the world. The Elephant was ashamed of his behaviour, in his temper, his annoyance of things beyond his control, he had begrudged being sympathetic to others, he had thought being the largest animal that he was of the most importance, when in reality all forms of life were making the best of the changes in a world they too could not control.
The Elephant knelt down before the pea vine and gently laid his trunk on very top of the vine. "Thank you, my friend, for showing me that we are all in this cycle of life together, and it doesn't matter how cross, angry and disappointed you are in your lot, there will always be changes, how we cope together throughout these is the most important of all". The pea vine curled around the Elephant's trunk and whispered "Thank YOU for listening, for in times when we feel the most isolated in our troubles, if you take the time, there will always be someone to talk to."
The Elephant left the pea vine, content in it's crack, shining brilliant green in a stark dry land. He continued stoically on his way, mindful that while he could not control everything in his world, he was valuable as part of a whole. He also acknowledged that every cycle has a beginning, a middle and an end. His world would change again in time, there would be growth and renewal and he would benefit from these too. He plodded on a wiser Elephant thanks to a small pea vine.
Do I need to tell you the moral? I hope not, we are all in this together. None better, worse, all valuable and part of a bigger plan. We cannot change our world, it is continually changing around us. How we choose in our attitude towards our life, our lot gives us strength to move forward. Find the value in your life, the world will always change, take it in your stride and keep moving forward. (Tobias, ever wise, ever beloved, thank you).