Saturday, January 27, 2007

Gorillas in the Mist

I am sure by now that everyone knows the story of the mountain gorillas in the Virunga range, and the story of Dian Fossey, who spent years studying them and trying to protect them. Apparently 50 million people around the globe also saw the wonderful sequences in the BBC programme Life on Earth where David Attenborough had his first and memorable encounter with the Virunga gorillas.
Well, tonight, BBC ran a one-hour programme revisiting the mountain gorillas and reviewing what has been done since their last visit and since Dian Fossey's death. Among the people interviewed in the programme was a zoologist, Charlotte Uhlenbroek, as talented as she is beautiful (Sorry, but old scrotes notice these things, and to hell with political correctness). God bless her and David A and all the other people who have done so much to save the gorillas and the other great apes from extinction. In fact the Rwandan gorillas are now doing well, mainly because of the financial benefit to Rwanda of "eco-tourism". If ever the means justified the ends.....
In the meantime, I spent most of the programme pulling out Kleenex tissues to wipe away the tears that were streaming down my face. Literally. This happens to me more than I really care to admit. Thinking about it, I realise that what makes me cry is the beauty. Not so much the gorillas or the rain forest - although they are terrifyingly beautiful - as the people who do beautiful things. I cry when people show love for each other, when people express affection, when people do good things without thought of personal gain. I cry happy tears when I witness other people's happiness. I am a sucker for what my son Jeremy calls "acts of unconditional love".
Not sure if this is healthy, but that's how it is. It's a wonderful world, as Louis Armstrong noted, and it's well that we don't have to spend ALL our time thinking about the gloomy stuff.

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