I see her Spirit returning, touching, stroking the bones of both herself and her unborn child.
A branch from the sacred Baobab Tree her offering, her prayer for restoration of Life.
Driving along the dirt road in the open-backed Safari truck across the draught afflicted bush plains of the National Wilderness Park Gonarezhou, in Zimbabwe, we take in the beauty of the landscape in all her wild ancient presence. And then I notice a heap of white bones, off to the side of the track.
I ask our guide if he knows the story of these bones.
They belong to a young female who died ten months into her pregnancy from malnutrition and starvation - with the unborn calf still in her womb.
Shared knowledge throughout the tribes of elephants across and beyond the lands of South Africa that Gonarezhou is a safe wilderness and sanctuary have meant the population of elephants living in this protected zone has continued to grow. But sadly - when in times of draught, where once the elephants would have been able to keep moving, following old and previously well-worn tracks into other wilderness areas for water and food-plants, with this option no longer available, the ecology of the National Park cannot sustain their needs.
And many, such as this young female and her unborn baby, do not survive.
My heart aches as we spontaneously touch and stroke the mother’s bones, and the tiny ones that remain of the little one.
I think of all the elephants lost. Grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, children, uncles and aunties.
I reflect too on all the women, infants and children across the world whose lives have been and continue to be lost for similar reasons.
Starvation, malnutrition, loss of homelands…due to our creation of lack of balance, disrespect, divisiveness, and loss of connection to Nature.
Like the ancient Baobab Tree (who can live for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, and whose presence on the planet predates both humanity and the splitting of the continents) - through her Body - fruit flower trunk branches leaves bark providing food, water, healing and shelter - for both people and wildlife – our Mother Earth - and the great matriarchs of our Planet, the Elephants, are endangered.
Why have we forgotten?
Without Her - what is there?
(Original Painting - Acrylic on canvas - 90cm x 90cm. 2018)
Artwork / images are copyrighted © Zenta Zebergs, zentaimprints
She Never Forgets
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