Monkey Business

The little wood below our house teems with life. First we had coyotes, then leopards, who turned out to be civets, colorful pheasants, throngs of winged creatures, including bats who came to inhabit Sochoe’s terrace, and most of all, monkeys, both macaques and langurs. The coyotes are long gone, the leopards have moved higher, and the civets seem to have moved on too, a good thing because they both ate our dogs. Now, more than ever, the monkeys are the kings.

Macaques typically move in bands composed of a few males and many females with babies. They jump from the trees below the house onto the terrace, where we had to give up leaving flower pots. Our neighbors chase them with BB guns, slings and what not, but we just let them be and we share the terrace. At night we can hear them grunting and whispering from our roof or in the nearby trees.

I never tire of watching monkeys. The other day, a whole band of ‘women and children’ came on the terrace. They saw me watching them behind the glass, and leaving their little ones a few paces behind, took on a defensive pose. Then, they ascertained the glass was between us, and became quite relaxed, grooming each other one tending to a leg sore a foot from where I stood, glass between us.

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