Personally, I think resolutions are made to be broken. And I’m more a follower of seasons, than the calendar. That said, I think New Year’s Eve is another wonderful opportunity we’re given to stand still and breathe for a moment, take stock and revel in the celebration and gratitude of what brought us to this point and the hope and inspiration of what’s to come.
Today was an incredibly beautiful day. This single gorgeous kestrel spent the whole day flying around the sanctuary:
There was some epic breakfast excitement involving whole apples (apples are a hot ticket item because boss lady, Jamie, LOVES them so we usually quarter these for easier serving to everyone). But when Jamie caught sight of a bowl of whole apples headed her way she literally stood up and screamed at the top of her lungs. I’m not talking about the usual hooting or food grunting, but screaming! You would never think something so every day, so simple as an apple would elicit such pure joy in someone. It made our hearts want to leap right out of our chests. And hers as well it seemed.
The morning may have started in the low twenties, but the chimps anxiously tumbled out into the brilliant sunshine together without hesitation. I couldn’t help but admire their loyalty to one another because even as those less tolerant of the cold stopped to shudder and seemingly rethink their decision, when the others encouraged them to continue, they did. They stuck together. They’re family.
Burrito, Annie, Missy, Jody, Jamie and Foxie:
Missy (R) encouraging her reluctant best friend, Annie, up the hill in the cold morning:
Annie’s such a loyal friend:
Even Burrito was sticking with the group:
Foxie had just lapped up the frost on the structure:
Missy is also a loyal friend and though she was cold, she stuck with Jamie, doing her best to hold back the horses that usually send her galloping across the hill:
Jody diligently followed her family onto the hill making sure everyone was safe, as she does, but she tends to be a little more sensitive to the cold (case in point, the sneer face) and decided to head back inside:
But Jody’s not happy until she knows her family is safe and sound so it wasn’t long before she came out again and decided to busy herself looking for ice snacks until everyone returned:
Jody could see Jamie coming down the hill, back toward the greenhouse where Jody was headed, and decided it would be good chimp politics to make sure Jamie was okay with her keeping that amazing chunk of ice:
Luckily for Jody, Jamie isn’t big on ice chunks:
Annie heading inside:
Later in the afternoon, Jamie and I were headed out on a walk when she spotted staff caregiver, Kelsi, and volunteer caregiver, Caroline, coming back from taking care of the cattle. And that’s not all she spotted. Kelsi had a new pair of muck boots with cows on them! Jamie was so pilo with excitement it looked like she grew three sizes as she made Kelsi race her around the hill, Missy hot on their heels:
You may be wondering about Negra by now. She spent much of the day in happy baby pose in the sunshine streaming through her window and grooming with the others. But she declined having any photographic evidence of anything she did all the live long day. I don’t blame her.
The chimps enjoyed a New Year’s Eve forage for dinner complete with sparkling cider and were all happily ensconced in their evening enrichment as we left.
And here we stand on New Year’s Eve, in the middle of the solstice season, looking back, looking forward. I’m convinced there’s magic here, in the just so tilting toward our star, in the darkening and the lightening of our days. I see it in Annie who used to sit in the raceway too frightened to venture onto Young’s Hill with Missy, rocking with anxiety until she returned, who now bravely follows her into the cold. Annie, who is often the one outside on her own these days. I see it in Missy who flies across the hill, her legs barely able to keep up with her now free heart. I see it in Jamie who wants to explode with joy over the sight of whole apples just for her and caregivers with new boots to race around the hill to her heart’s content. I see it in Jody who braves her dislike of cold temperatures to make sure she can keep a watchful eye over her family until everyone returns safely to the chimp house. I see it in each of the chimpanzees every single day. And I see it in all of you.
YOU make all these moments possible for them. You have helped provide the home, the time, the care and the love for them to heal and grow more than we ever thought possible. Because of you and your overwhelming support of our Bring Them Home campaign we now stand here looking to the year ahead and the expansion of home and family that your absolutely incredible generosity, compassion and love is making a reality. So yes, I see magic in that.
From our hearts to yours, thank you. You. Are. Amazing!! Thank you for being part of this chimp family. And thank you for being committed to the caring and connecting that extends far beyond the bounds of this small sanctuary home. We are all wishing you a New Year’s Eve and year ahead as magical, hopeful, and inspiring as you make possible for these seven amazing individuals, the four beautiful bovines we’re so happy to have welcomed to their new home with us, and all the humans here who have the privilege and honor to care for them, as well as the future family members we can’t wait to welcome.
Happy New Year, everyone! And apologies for the late post! We had persnickety internet today! 😉