There is a gorgeous book recently written by a mother and daughter in Hawaii called “H?nau ka Ua” in which they recorded over 200 hundred names for rain in the Hawaiian language. It is written that their k?puna, or elders, were so attuned to the environment that they gave individual names to the variety of rains and winds on the islands. They knew each rain based on where and when it fell, the intensity and duration, the effect it had on people, the sound it made on the trees, and even the scent it carried. So in tune to their environment they considered it their kin.
In this part of the world, spring is ushered in on the winds. Not just any old breezes, but winds that come off the still snow-covered mountains and barrel down the valley like a freight train, that kick and buck like a wild horse, and throw sticks and stones for good measure. The days like that are sunny, but often leave all the primates taking cover. But on the days when the wind’s wild rumpus finally settles, like today, it can be cloudy and rainy. A gentle, soothing rain.
When not on Young’s Hill, the chimps chose to spend the entire day in the greenhouse, under the sound of rain on the roof. Annie nested there all day, as she often does when it rains. During a downpour at lunch we all just sat taking cover together, faces turned upward listening to the soothing rhythm.
Foxie keeping France Dora safe:
When Jamie insisted on multiple walks in the rain today, I marveled at the transition she’s made to being a Pacific Northwest chimp, virtually un-phased by the showers. Each walk for each kind of rain was different, but all were joyous and calm.
In a gentle, but steady light rain we didn’t dawdle, but she walked surprisingly slowly, the only sounds the raindrops on my Gortex jacket and our feet moving through the wet grass:
Later in the day when the rain let up and turned to only a few sprinkles was when she decided to kick up her heels and run:
On the final walk of the day most everyone decided to come out (though it was too wet for Negra today).
Foxie and Dora:
I’m so grateful that the chimps have the opportunity to be so connected to their home. To each rain and wind, snow and sunny day. To be kin with their environment and the wilderness in their hearts. Just as they were meant to be. Just as we were all meant to be.