Today, for the first time in a week, has been pretty calm around here. No fires, no firefighters, no smoke, clear skies, and cooler weather. It’s far from over in our minds and flare ups can happen any time, but so far so good. We’ll take it!
As tough as the Taylor Bridge Fire has been for us humans to process, the chimps have been champions. They have been eerily quiet at times over the last week and have occasionally been caught just staring out the window watching helicopters and firefighters– especially Annie, Jody, and Foxie. I have had several moments similar to the one Sarah described last week between her and Jody, where as soon as the chimps get the “okay” from us, they go right back to business as usual– which is usually play! Late last week, I watched Missy go around to every single person in the greenhouse engaging them in play, including Jody, who is not usually all that playful. Missy is always playful, but I have been thinking of her behavior this week as her own personal coping mechanism- keep everyone happy so you don’t have to think about the craziness going on outside.
I’ve been watching her employ this “tactic” since the day after the fire. As Sarah mentioned, the fire incinerated the water lines to our well, so because of possible chemical contamination, we have turned off the water to the chimp areas and have been giving the chimps lots of water bottles and Gatorade instead. They have been loving it! We’ve given the chimps water bottles before, but because it’s not the most sustainable practice, we haven’t done it all that often and certainly not in this quantity. But they have been so enriched by it! And thanks to so many of you out there- we have plenty to keep them happy and hydrated for a long time. Here’s a video of Missy being goofy with her water bottle the day after the fire broke out (August 14th). If you listen closely you can hear helicopters flying overhead as Missy just keeps on playing– it’s a good coping mechanism!
So, as things settle down outside, things get more relaxed, but also rowdier and goofier, inside! Jamie has been crazy playful all day. This morning, she and Foxie got into a thunderous game of chase and were tickling each other and laughing so loud it was hard for us humans to hear each other speak. Burrito was spotted walking in between the Front Rooms with a box on his head and Annie has been lounging in the greenhouse clapping her feet- a sure sign she’s relaxed. Jody and Negra have been kicked back in their nests sipping on water bottles all day. And every time I make eye contact with Missy, she springs off in a full speed run, engaging me in a game of chase. It’s business as usual around here. Chimps are such an inspiration.