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Creative Teaching

The Elephant and the Sparrow

It is a meeting of the large and the small. The animal – an Asian elephant that can eat up to 170 kg of food per day and drink 90L of water, thousands of miles from its land of origin, in an enclosure at Melbourne Zoo.  Here its diet consists of  bread, bamboo, hay, carrots, apples,  lucerne and leaves. With a trunk that  hold up to 8.5L of water, it is called Elephas maximus and it is given the status of endangered. It weighs between 3-5 tonnes.

By accident , caught in the foreground , by luck of the camera,  is the meeting of heavy and light: a sparrow; slender, almost weightless, delicate – a House Sparrow- passer domesticus. Brought originally into Australia by Europeans – in the 1860s to soothe homesickness – these creatures, only 14 cms in length, are common, everyday, unlike the elephant.

And so it is the meeting of extremes , all be it fleeting , for the sparrow will soon fly away. The elephant grounded, enclosed, all be it predictable.

Yet extremes can come together , meeting in the middle, where there was previously no middle ground. Now an unusual image is created-  a contrast. It is a short window of opportunity,  can only be extended by way of the camera. It leaves us with the knowledge ,and faith, that disparate things can come together.

So…..Where the engine is heavy, industrial, weighted , it meets a poem that is light and tender. Prose meets the mechanical. A lightness of words, the tenderness of a sketch, can capture all that is heavy. Movement and dance can explore the weight and power of machines – where heavy is portrayed as light, light as heavy; fleeting is compared with the weighted.

The imagination opens possibilities; how one can be contrasted with another yet strangely how each can come together and swap qualities: the elephant is light, the sparrow weighed down – by what? How?sparrow

Once upon a time, there lived a sparrow with her husband on a banyan tree…….


About inclued

I am a teacher/trainer, writer and photographer, with teaching experience in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Special Needs and Staff Development.


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