In my home I have a wall where I’ve hung each of the chimpanzees portraits. I chose photos that reminded me of each of their personalities. But I look at those photos now and they almost seem like different people. It seems that the chimpanzees are changing and growing by leaps and bounds each day. Sometimes it’s big differences like Negra venturing so far out onto the hill that we lost sight of her for a couple of hours this morning.
And sometimes it seemingly smaller things like finding Jamie covered up in her usual morning nest while we clean the playroom but with the huge difference of having (and keeping!) her eyes closed, sound asleep. Jamie is typically always on alert, even while “resting” and in the past typically kept her eyes open, keeping track of what was happening around her. From my perspective, it would seem that Jamie is finally feeling safe and comfortable enough to let down her guard long enough to rest peacefully, if only for a brief time.
And there is Annie who no longer rocks anxiously in the doorway to Young’s Hill, waiting for Missy to return to the safety of the greenhouse. Now she is fast on the heels of Missy wherever she goes on the hill and can even be found foraging on her own.
And much to my surprise and delight, Jody engaged in a brief game of tug-o-war with me this afternoon and then turned around and presented her back to me for a knuckle rub. Again, this may seem small but in all the time I have been at the sanctuary I have not seen Jody play like this. I cannot tell you how happy this makes all of us. Not because we want or need them to change of course, but because it seems the natural result of their healing. And I cannot wait to look at my wall by the end of this summer, this year, and beyond and see who’s there.