I’m tempted to start semi-annual “Field Season in Review” post… but resisting. It isn’t time yet (I usually write it from the air) and that isn’t the point of this post. This post is about the crazy whirlpool of present-future-past that I find myself in this time of the season. I wrote the bits and pieces of this post over the last five weeks of my time in the field.
There's just something about time that- well WARPS- when you're in the field. There's no other way to describe it. Time stretches and contracts in ways that make no sense. And even though you know a warp is headed your way, you can never really guess when it'll hit, or how hard, or in what direction. You just know its about to be a roller coaster of time. I tried not to edit them too much because I want to convey the feeling instead of trying to explain it. It might not work... it possible that I've been in the forest too long... Either way, its too late now! Here we go!
Moon is an incredible little chimpanzee. When I first met him in 2013 I fell in love with his eyes- they are like bright honey-colored amber, just like his mother’s. Back then his face was light and he was so shy. Often, when I followed him all I could see were his gorgeous, sweetly curious eyes peeked out at me between stalks of vegetation. In the late spring of 2014, when he was only five years old, Moon joined a party with his older brother, but his mother, Mususu, has disappeared and was never seen again. Moon became enfuzi: an orphan. And a particularly disadvantaged one at that. He was barely weaned, was from the very Northern edge of the community, and his only surviving relative was his older brother, Max, our famously footless male chimp. Max is a great brother, but he isn’t a strong ally for a young juvenile male suddenly thrust into the an adult social world. When I first heard the sad news, I was afraid we’d lose Moon too by the time I got back to the forest, but today he’s still going strong on the fast track to becoming a Big Man.
This blog is a forum share my personal experiences as a field researcher and traveler.