There's one in our bedroom and it's the first thing I see in the morning if I'm facing west. I open my eyes to one of the fourteen bookcases scattered about our apartment. This one is crammed with an assortment of mostly non-fiction books from a baseball encyclopedia to the three volume letters of Vincent Van Gogh to a shelf of anthologies and some old left history books, too dated to read with too many memories to discard.
The elephant is a wind-up toy which sits in front of a collection of the Best Essays of the Century. She is riding a bicycle while her upright snout balances a beach ball from a long pole. I prefer to see the ball as the globe. As she pedals the world spins. It seems like a fragile thing but my elephant remembers how and hasn't let us down yet.
I had a dream last night that the home plate umpire took off his black to reveal an all-white attire. He then started pitching for Peggy and me and was unhittable. In the dream I remarked to Peggy how fortunate we are to have the ump on our side. At that I woke up.
I'm thankful for all our innings together and for the elephant in the room who keeps us in orbit. I almost typed obit. Strange how close and far away those two words are.
Maybe all this is my oblique way of dealing with death and dying; that other elephant prowling around but not yet in the room; just beyond my imagining. We have an entire lifetime to come to terms with it but can't.
If I first open my eyes in the morning to the east I see Peggy rhythmically breathing and making those wonderful sleep sounds we all make. That and the spinning planet are all the reassurance I need to ward off the dreaded elephantine shadows.