A willow tree, a sloping lawn, a quiet country house. An elephant?
This blog’s title is inspired by Philippa Pearce’s marvelous Emily’s Own Elephant. The story is one of the picture books I still remember clearly. Emily visits the zoo with her family and discovers that Jumbo the elephant is about to be made homeless because he is too small to be a proper zoo attraction. Naturally, Emily’s parents suggest they bring Jumbo home to live in their meadow (and sleep in their empty shed during winter, after Emily’s father installs central heating). It all works out beautifully for Emily, and, I believe, the elephant.
There might be other elephants in the future of this blog, but here are three more to begin with:
- During a research trip to Braunschweig, I discovered that German has a word for those little step stools found in library: Elefantenstuhl! (Sadly, it did not look like this.)
- A wise blogger has written about the parable of the blind men and the elephant. This tale is not necessarily a simple warning against extrapolating from a partial reality, but also a reminder that any exploration of the world is always filtered through a particular perspective. I hope that writing in this space will let me “feel out” some different perspectives on history and graduate study.
- And of course, there is the large, looming elephant otherwise known as my dissertation. Right now this project is really only a tiny baby elephant, or maybe even hypothetical (though, I hope, not as crazy as pink elephants on parade). I’m trying to grow it into a great big, galumphing elephant, but for now I’m simply letting it romp around the back yard under the willow tree. Thanks for joining me!