Initiator: Sharon Tama – Domrey
Initiator Artist: Sharon Tama
Artwork Title: Domrey of Wat Thom, Cambodia
Size: 24 x 36″
Responder Author: Jill Hedgecock
Writing Title: Grace of an Elephant
Domrey’s head envelops the page. As it should. Elephants are huge in size and in heart. Her species shaped the planet long before bipedal humans arrived to destroy it—and her. She is megafauna. She is megaherbivore.
An elephant is not just a gray animal, as is taught in school. Domrey’s head and trunk are also rust speckled with black. Her enormous soot-colored skull is framed by the blue gray of her fragile ears. Ears that alert her to danger. Ears that listen, always for the one thing that strikes fear in a matriarch—the report of a rifle. This creature of historic times will then lift her wrinkled trunk, using all 40,000 of its muscles, to smell those who threaten her. Domrey will not run. She and her herd will form a circle around their most vulnerable—their calves. She values her family above all else.
Domrey’s eyes see nothing and everything. Her poor eyesight blurs the world. But to peer into those dark orbs is to witness her soul. In the depths of those black pools, humans can experience the dawn of time. Her species has survived for 60 million years. She has lived through the era of dinosaurs, and the time before people. Domrey has carried men into wars she does not understand. This matriarch has watched the green forests she feeds upon bulldozed. She holds these memories and those of all the grandmothers who came before her. It is she, the carrier of her great ancestry, within which lies wisdom and strength.
But now, the lust of Homo sapiens for ivory threatens the survival of these enormous creatures. If her species is pushed over the ledge of extinction, there will never again be an animal as majestic and compassionate as an elephant.
Fortunately, many people speak out on her behalf in words and in art. And so, for now, Domrey lives on. And she does so with the grace of an elephant.
© 2023 Jill Hedgecock