My true cornerstone of comfort and reassurance always, but especially so over the past year, has been to look to nature. No matter what turmoil is occurring around us, the river is still running, the wind still blowing, the birds and the seasons still turning. And so very thankfully, the chimpanzees still living their days in relative ease, unaware of the world outside their sanctuary home.
Many of us often remark this time of year about this or that being the true sign that spring has officially and finally arrived. I have a mental checklist. The first sign is the return of the red-winged blackbirds, their territorial calls swirling across the fields and ponds in the icy morning air. That’s when you know it’s happening. One by one, the birds return – the Say’s phoebe, the finches, the bluebirds and the sky they seem to paint with their wings, where the red-tailed hawk pair circle endlessly under cerulean blue, calling out to one another over and over. Then we see the marmots, the ground squirrels, the first golden flashes of balsamroot blooms against the slowly greening hillsides, the return of the turkey vultures taking such delight as they flow on the thermals through the canyon, mirroring the river below. Then the frog chorus! The much anticipated appearance of our own beloved groundhog of sorts, Queen Negra, venturing out for the first tastes of spring grass. And finally (today!), the swallows, who animate the air surrounding the chimp house with their constant swooping and chatter. It’s a marvelous miracle out there. I hope you’re able to stop and take a gander. Soothe your soul a minute, breathe a little so your heart feels buoyed.
Welcome back, Swallows!
The chimpanzees spent much of the day in their near-to-outdoor areas, soaking in the warmth of the sun just out of the wind’s reach, dozing and dreaming perhaps, to birdsong above and river song below. I found Jamie, Annie, Burrito, Jody and Foxie all lined along the length of the greenhouse, resting, at ease.
Foxie and her new Easter Strawberry Shortcake:
I could barely catch Jamie hiding around the corner, beloved boot tucked under her chin, enjoying her Africa National Geographic magazine while everyone else dozed:
Jody, sound asleep in her nest:
Tucked between Annie and Foxie, even (believe it or not) the whirlwind we all love and adore, Burrito, was under the sleepy spell of the greenhouse…though he tried.so.hard to fight it:
This same spell seemed be cast over the chute as well, as Mave, Honey B and Willy B, spent most of the afternoon snoozing in the chute, faces pressed toward the sun as the birds swooped and soared around them.
Now that y’all probably have a good case of yawn contagion, may you, too, rest well, friends!