It was cloudy most of the morning. In the afternoon, I went for my usual walk. I saw a rabbit by the fence.
I noticed hickory nuts maturing.
In the pasture, I admired the smooth sumac.
Then I saw a deer in the distance.
I wanted to get closer for a better view, but as soon as it spotted me, the deer ran away.
In the late afternoon it rained, and Bow reacted with his usual display, answering every thunderclap with a vocalization.
I have long since given up asking Bow why he does this. Other chimpanzees do it, too. It's instinctive. There may be variations in their display, but they will display at the rain, and they don't know why. It's the same thing with humans. If you ask a human why he does something that is hard-wired, he won't be able to give you an articulate, intelligent answer, either. It used to drive me crazy when people could not explain themselves, and one of the things I hoped talking to a chimpanzee would help me with is clearing up some of those misunderstandings. But it turned out that Bow is not more capable of introspection than most of the humans I know. Living with him has made me more tolerant of my own kind.
All of us have things we do that we can't help doing, and just because we come with those pre-wired behaviors, it does not mean that we don't have other actions that we perform consciously and by choice, things that we are capable of explaining to others. The difficulty, sometimes, is in determining what it is that someone else can't help doing, so that we don't waste time trying to change the unchangeable. We have to learn not to say: "You're so smart. Why can't you just stop doing X." If X is hard-wired, there is no point even trying.
Everyone would benefit greatly from living with a chimpanzee twenty-four hours a day. There is so much to learn about our own nature from having to put up with theirs. And their generosity of spirit, when we don't judge them, more than makes up for a little inconvenience.
After the rain display was over, when it was time for dinner, Bow was perfectly capable of telling me what he wanted to eat by spelling out the words. The food calls when he saw the food coming were not for me, or for himself. They were pre-wired to give away the fact that there is food to any chimp within earshot, whether Bow wants to share or not. But there were no chimps within earshot, only deer and rabbits and stray cats.
When dealing with humans, too, it is helpful to mute out the language they use if you want to rely on their tells. The articulated, spelled-out language performs one function, and the body language and unintentional vocalizations quite another.
In the evening, long after I had put Bow to bed, as I was tidying things up for the last time in the kitchen before turning out the lights, the cat returned. It appeared at the kitchen window. My daughter went out and got this picture of it.
Is the cat here to stay? Or is it just passing through? Only time will tell.