Sunday, May 11, 2008


And in my aloneness I lead a privileged life. This morning I was planting out some pumpkin starts and listening to monkey chatter. Normally I look, watch for a while and carry on working. But this morning I thought, what the hell, and fetched my new binoculars (a gift from a parting friend). I sat on the deck and watched a smallish troupe of spider monkeys pass through, galloping noisily below, above and in the midst of the canopy. Spider monkeys are a treat here though they are regular visitors to the garden. Some people call them Colorado Monkeys and insist they are extinct in this part of the world. Luckily no one has told the monkeys they are extinct, so they keep coming. Don’t tell anyone. At the end of the troupe was a very pregnant female. She took her time sitting around for long stretches and snacking on vine fruits. It was lovely to see a pregnant monkey – especially one who’s supposedly extinct. Spiders are named for their extremely long limbs. They have relatively small heads with big tufts of hair framing their face, they are pretty but also somehow out of proportion. To see a big belly made her look even more at odds with her frame. Their tails are really a fifth limb and they are perfectly happy hanging from them 50 feet up. She was eating the fruit of a Swiss Cheese plant (monstera deliciosa), I knew they were edible but never knew how to eat them. She ate it like corn on the cob, first biting off the green external part, and spitting it out, then holding it like a lollipop. Supposedly it tastes like a mix of pineapple and banana. She was about 30 feet from me hanging by her tail and supporting herself against a trunk with one foot while she held the vine in the other foot and used both hands for the fruit. She was about 30 foot away and incredibly close thanks to the binoculars. She caught up with the troupe and I continued with the pumpkins.