Holding Hands with a Chimp

Revelation comes in different forms for different people. A biblical verse. A flash of recognition in a lover’s eyes. A Nietzschean proverb. A classical sonata. A child’s embrace. Any moment of profundity, really, where time stops and the divine reveals itself, if only for an instant, and the world makes sense.

For me, revelation came in the form of ape knuckles.

When I first met her, Noelle was a 6-month-old chimp who’d just been surrendered to a sanctuary in south Florida, where she was to be raised by human caregivers along with half a dozen other orphans like her until they were old enough to live in a more natural captive environment. As one of those lucky caregivers, I volunteered at the sanctuary between classes and spent nights there on the weekends.

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