Last night as the chimps were all curled into their nests for the night, I stood watching the last of the summer sun setting over the sanctuary. My heart beats a little faster during these moments, already pining for the passing beauty of one season, while leaping about in anticipation of the beauty to come.
After eight years in sanctuary, it’s been amazing to observe the chimpanzees beginning to make clear connections between the seasonal changes and favorite things to come. For example, the moment that the snow melted last winter they began running to the windows in anticipation to check their garden each day, seemingly hoping it would sprout up overnight.
As we welcomed the first day of autumn this morning, I found dear, sweet Annie sitting in front of the barn doors, enjoying the late morning sun and gazing out over the remainder of the chimps’ garden, seemingly lost in thought. I hope it was all the good thoughts:
Annie sat like this for several moments and at one point the breeze picked up and she just closed her eyes, letting it blow through her hair. And yes, my heart just melted:
Even Ellie, our wild and sassy neighborhood elk, was dozing in the breeze:
We’ve written about it before, but Annie is a different person after eight years in her sanctuary home than when she arrived. Having gone through many seasons of her own, it’s actually more probable that there is finally safe space for her true self to emerge, more at ease with the world around her, serene and comfortable in her own skin and able to hold hope and joy for what each day and season brings:
Happy autumn everyone (or spring, as the hemispheric case may be)!