There may still be snow on the ground, but the sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and it finally feels like spring.
When Jamie is in a great mood all day, it’s not hard for her to find a play partner.
Our heaps and mounds of snow have largely turned to heaps and mounds of ice with our recent windows of blue sky and sun, but we still have many spots of powder and icy crystals. With the humans’ persistent belief that each snow storm will be the last, we decided the chimps’ should continue to eat as much snow as possible since it’s going to be spring any day now. Fortunately, the chimps’ seem to agree.
This afternoon, the chimp house was the epitome of peacefulness.
If you had walked in the door at 3:00, you would have had to strain to hear the soft lip-smacking and gentle raspberry sounds that accompanied their grooming.
If you had climbed the ladder to get a view of the chimpanzees in a fluid huddle in the loft, you might have marveled at what a close-knit and affectionate group they are.
This peaceful scene erased the ear-piercing screams and general mayhem that constitute chimpanzee quarreling that had occurred throughout the morning.
But that’s the nature of chimpanzees.
One minute they seem intensely angry at each other and the next they are engaged in the most intimate grooming session.
The chimpanzees have been a particular delight today as they’ve gone about their business. It was something like 4 degrees this morning so I wasn’t anticipating that the chimps would be in any rush to venture outside after breakfast. But as they often do, the chimps let me know they had other intentions for their day and wouldn’t be deterred by some extra chilly temperatures. Jody sat with chow bags in hand (small bags filled with primate chow that the chimps receive after their breakfast and lunch) and watched me intently from the bench in the front room as I finished moving doors seemingly waiting for me to go out and open the door to Young’s Hill. I still didn’t expect anyone to go outside, but sure enough, as soon as the door was open Jody walked out bipedally, doing her classic Jody dinosaur groans (a low moan) as she headed for the fire hose where she typically sits and takes in the view of the hill first thing in the morning and then proceeded to eat several handfuls of snow:
Annie and Missy were right behind her, but not wanting to walk in the snow and ice, they walked along the edges of the raceway and joined Jody on the fire hose, up off the snow. This is where the comedy began. Jody completely ignored their presence and made no effort to help them out, give them space on the fire hose, or share her snow. So Annie and Missy were bending and contorting this way and that, trying to get around and over Jody, all the while doing a crazy balancing act to avoid touching the snow. I couldn’t get close enough to the fence through the pile of snow in time to capture any good photos, and maybe you had to be there, but I could not stop laughing (Missy, Jody, Annie):
Here, Missy just tries to crawl over Jody’s head:
After everyone’s burst of energy they settled down in cozy nests while we cleaned the play room. You may have read in J.B.’s blog post the other day about Jamie receiving a gift in the mail from a gracious visitor of literally, the boots off her feet that Jamie had fallen in love with during her visit. Jamie is still completely smitten with these. After having me model them for awhile she asked to have them, along with some toasty blankets to build a nest. It wasn’t long before I glanced in to see her in utter joy and contentment. Of course what makes these photos so heartwarming and endearing is not the fact that Jamie is donning adorable footwear you would normally see on a human. We’d never advocate for that. It’s the fact that for reasons unknown to us, boots bring Jamie unfathomable joy and the fact that she gets to choose to wear them (or choose which human she wants to wear them), which ones and when, and to see the joy that comes from her exercising agency over her own life – that’s the true gift:
Bonus photo of bath time for tiny troll:
Today, well after the other chimpanzees had moved on to other post-lunch activities (specifically nesting, napping, and grooming), I “caught” Annie going through the front rooms and collecting uneaten Brussels sprouts, then taking her found food to the playroom to enjoy.
Just a few minutes later, I saw Foxie do the same thing, but this time with avocado peels (in the first photo below, see Foxie’s signature happy toes and small orange-haired troll doll stationed nearby):
Foxie was working diligently to get every last bit of avocado flesh. The chimpanzees have enjoyed an abundance of avocados lately, thanks to donations of Charlie’s Produce via Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, and that has suited Foxie just fine.
As a bonus, for those who are wondering what the bovines have been up to, here’s a video I took yesterday!
Today was sponsored by Jennifer Swift who shared this beautiful message:
“This day is my 50th birthday and I’m celebrating by honoring all of the animals that have touched my life and taught me about myself.”
Jennifer, this is so lovely! It lifts our hearts to hear of your love and compassion for the animals you’ve shared your life with and we’re so touched to know the chimpanzees are included. Thank you for making a difference in their lives in return, we so appreciate you! Happy, happiest of birthdays to you!
Just as each of the chimpanzees are, Jody is an inspiration every single day for not only what she’s endured in life, but how she thrives in spite of it. Every day, a celebration.