For each of us, every season holds favorite things to look forward to. That one special food, flower, sight, sound or scent that you can only enjoy at a certain time each year.
This spring I’ve watched the chimpanzees anticipating the growth of the wild greens on Young’s Hill and the fruits and vegetables in their garden weeks before anything appeared. For weeks Jody diligently marched to the top of Young’s Hill each day to see if the wild mustard or wild lettuce had begun to grow yet. The second the weather warmed up, Missy began asking us to open the barn doors to their playroom so she could see outside to her beloved garden. And every day she runs to the window next to where we plant her favorite cherry tomatoes each year, checking to see if they’ve magically appeared. This is the first year I’ve noticed the chimps demonstrating such clear anticipation for things to come with the corresponding season. It makes my heart so happy to know that they recognize they have favorite things to look forward to in their sanctuary home throughout the year.
Of course spring in particular offers a variety of favorites for each of the chimpanzees. Annie for example, loves racing across the expanse of Young’s Hill in a mad game of chase and wrestle with her best friend, Missy. But she also increasingly enjoys exploring and foraging on the hill in solitude. Just sitting and taking in the sky, the surrounding fields and watching the birds. Often she will be the only person out on the hill, perfectly content and serene.
And another of Annie’s endearing favorites as the season grows warmer? Toes. Yep, Annie loves to see human toes! The second she spots our feet in sandals she immediately blows raspberries (indicating she wants to see our toes right now!), grabs a tool, and races over to check them out, utterly mesmerized. Around here, the humans are pretty smitten with chimp toes and while I think their toes are a lot cooler than ours, I guess I can see why she might be fascinated by these strange things that probably seem so similar and yet so different to her own.