After all the constant change and unexpected events of the past few months, today I’m grateful for all the little signs of normalcy returning for many of the chimpanzees. All the live long day not one chimpanzee person offered to sit still for the camera for a proper photo. But as much as I love to share their beautiful selves, them getting back into small snippets of their routines, enjoying their lives, having more easeful days, I care more about that than their photos.
Things like Foxie tossing a troll down from the loft and asking a caregiver to play chase up and down the human hallway while she raced back and forth above. Or spinning in pirouettes throughout the loft – I haven’t seen one of her patented Foxie spins in a long time – she’s had other things on her mind. Or Missy, asking a caregiver to brush her hair while she sits atop a barrel against the caging, warming up after a brisk gallop around Young’s Hill. Mave, Honey B and Willy B asking for kisses in the excitement of mealtime. I can’t say this is or isn’t “routine” for them as we’re still getting to know them, but I still take it as a sign of happiness from them. Or Mave low-moaning in happiness up in the mezzanine when I toss up extra blankets warm from the dryer at bedtime. Then there was Annie running over to greet caregivers and asking to groom their toes (Annie LOVES human toes). Jamie being back to asking for her cowboy boots at bedtime. Jody (!!) swinging from a firehose while she play-kicked her friends below. Negra clapping and using salty chimp language in demand for her meals which outside of her amazing nests, she pretty much lives for. Even our beloved Burrito, though he’s busy working hard on healing, giving the sweetest laugh to a caregiver, grooming with his chimp lady friends, and closing his eyes in sleepiness and calm while I knuckle-rubbed the top of his head as he lay next to me pressing it against the caging. Or ending the day with all ten of the chimpanzees giving long and hearty nest grunts goodnight in response to lights out and “Goodnight everybody, we love you.” It’s these little things I’m most grateful for today and always. Because these little things are indicative of such big things. The things I hold most dear to my heart. The chimps’ hearts and happiness, contentment and well-being.
All I managed to capture today was Missy from afar, enjoying her lunchtime chow as she sat suspended in a sunbeam while balancing on a firehose in the middle of the playroom. Such a wonderful Missy thing to do: