Spring is still in its infancy in Cle Elum. The nights are cold, and we will likely see more snow, but it will be the kind of snow that is there one minute and gone the next. There’s no holding back the change in the seasons now.
This change from winter to spring is often the most dramatic. It surprises me every year. I don’t forget that the days gradually stretch in synchrony with the plants reaching for the sun, but I do forget what it really feels like. I can’t seem to conjure up the experience unless it’s authentically occurring.
I remember that the group of seven chimpanzees spend more time outside, and that we often scatter their meals out across Young’s Hill, the two acre habitat. We have thousands of photos of this. But still, watching and feeling the first forages of the season is familiar, but also new all over again.
This winter was, overall, remarkably mild. You may recall that we had a very notable Christmas celebration forage on the hill on December 19th. It was notable because Negra climbed up to the lookout for the first time in pursuit of a pineapple top. Go ahead, go re-live that glorious day.
Today we set out a lunch forage for the group of seven. Negra was the first one out of the raceway and onto the hill. She didn’t go even halfway up the hill, but she did seem to be remembering, like me, what spring feels like.
I couldn’t help but take a ridiculous number of photos of her as she sat, as she stretched to reach pieces of food, and as she walked, in all her glory, back inside. I encourage you to pause on each of the photos and remember. Remember that feeling of warmth and life and hope.
Maybe there are more pineapple climbing adventures in Negra’s future. But, even if there are not, today’s emergence was fulfilling.
On the other side of the building, Willy B spent some time sitting on the boardwalk.
We did a forage of a different sort by placing lettuce on top of the chute. I didn’t get any great photos of this forage, but Honey B, Willy B, and Mave all partook of the bounty, with Mave in particular getting into the foraging spirit.
In just a few months, the three will have new spaces to explore while we will work on creating their version of Young’s Hill that will be called The Bray. And six more chimpanzees will join that side of the building.
There’s a lot of hope in the air.