Gorillas In The Midst


Though many will remember the astounding works of Diane Fossey through her published book, most of us learned about this world renowned primatologist from the above named movie starring Sigourney Weaver in which she received an Oscar nomination for her remarkable performance.

Diane Fossey was the first person to record the social structure of mountain gorillas, interact with them and developed strong personal bonds with each individually. It was her personal quest to protect these primates that made her well known throughout the world. In fact, one could say that if it wasn’t for her bold determination to protect her gorillas at all cost, they would be extinct today.

The picture above was taken at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Alberta was a 32 year old western gorilla who died recently. Her death had come as a surprise, yet the cause of her death is unknown. She is survived by her mate Winston and three offspring. One of them, Ndjole, a male, is on loan to a zoo in Oklahoma. (Loan a son out? Why didn’t I think of that?)

There are arguments that fly back and forth as to whether we are or are not related to these fine animals, yet as we gaze at Alberta’s face, can we deny the look of endearment and tenderness, the characteristics of a sweet sensitive unique being? If we look closely, we can see traces of happiness in her eyes and an expression of keen observation. Hers is a story of warm domesticity, a caring attachment between familial appendages. It is a story of community that evokes communication and caring between the species and how we can connect with others.

Like the gorilla, this may be no easy task as it involves courage on our part, an act of bravery to cultivate a relationship with one another, but well worth the risk. Then, when an element of trust is developed, it can give us a reason to live or a cause to fight and protect.

Hey, we may not be far off from these beautiful creatures, although one could only hope for a better hair stylist.

As our perception of community widens, especially through new acquaintances and friendships we develop socially on Facebook, Twitter and on our blogs, we feel resilient and gain a better sense of ourselves, for we all may be unique, but we are not secluded.

It saddens me a little to think of Alberta the gorilla and the family that she left behind. I’m quite sure she will be missed by all of those whom she came in contact with. But in turn, I must say we should feel encouraged to know that we are all surrounded by great people who want to see us succeed, people who want to be part of a thriving community, a collective gathering of growth and support. And as we bravely reach out, we just need to remember one simple fact: We can all be “Gorillas in the Mist”.


So please let me know what you think? Are you reaching out to other individuals, giving them support as they embark on a new path in their careers? Are you interactive in a community of friends via the web or in person?  What have you learned that will help others so that  they may not make the same mistakes you made along the way?

Thank you for your many thoughts and salutations. If you’ve enjoyed this post, don’t forget to follow!

Karen McFarland


A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new classmates in my #WANA1011 class and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

29 thoughts on “Gorillas In The Midst

  1. Stacy S. Jensen

    I do my best to reach out. Sometimes, I’m not as consistent as I would like to be online or in person, but am trying to be better. I love watching animals and see how they interact with each other. We can learn a lot from them.

  2. Cathy

    We recently gave a home to a rescue labrador. I’m sure I’m getting as much out of the ‘rescue’ as he is, if not more. He is so affectionate, even if it’s only cupboard love, I’ll take that. He follows me around like close protection. He is currently asleep on the rug behind me, snoring but I know that as soon as I get up to get another cup of tea (yes, I’m English right down to the bad teeth), he will snap into (arthritic) action and put his nose to my heel all the way to the kitchen. Obviously I find him great company. I do try to reach out to others too. Mainly I think just listening to people is the best thing I can do. I find that hard. I’m ‘so fascinating’ I can barely keep my mouth shut about myself. But when I can, I know it helps, after all, I love it when people listen to me. Thanks for listening Karen.

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Cathy, it’s great to have you here. Don’t we just love our animals and the warm affection they give us in return. Keep reaching out to others. You’ll get so much more in return. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Louise Behiel

    We are blessed in Calgary to have an amazing zoo including gorillas. they are such fascinating animals.

    the need to interact is so primal for each of us…and I have to agree that this class has created a support system and a network of caring supportive people who will be there for each other – celebrating successes and offering support.

    thanks for the reminder

    1. Karen Post author

      Hey Louise, your welcome. I know, I love our class too. I just hope that we’ll all keep in touch and continure to support one another. Thanks Louise!

  4. Kara

    I was faltering a little before joining this group. Now I feel a part of a great group and it gives me such comfort!
    I remember seeing Gorillas in the Midst and being in awe of both the gorillas and Fossey. I love watching the monkeys at the zoo and seeing their expressions. They are amazing creatures.
    Wonderful post!

  5. Sheila Seabrook

    This need to connect with others is so strong and with the internet, it makes it so easy to broaden those connections. I’m thankful to be a part of this warm, giving group. Thank you for the great post, Karen. The human similarity to the gorilla is amazing. 🙂

    1. Karen Post author

      Hi Sheila, thanks for dropping by! I’m with you; I love our group too! Let’s all work to stay connected. It’s what will make everything worth it.

  6. Shannon Esposito

    I’ll never forget the day we visited a zoo in NC and a mother gorilla was there with her tiny (maybe a few months old) baby. She actually brought it over to the glass and held it so we could see it, and looked in our eyes. I believe she was trying to share her joy with us. Still gives me chills to think about it!

  7. Shannon Esposito

    I’ll never forget visiting a zoo in NC where a mother gorilla had a tiny (maybe a few months old) baby in her arms. She actually came over to the glass and held it so we could see it, and looked right in our eyes. I think she was looking for us to share in her joy. It still gives me chills when I think about it.

    1. Karen Post author

      Shannon, I am so sorry! For some unknown reason, wordpress put you in spam. Thank you for letting me know and big thanks for having our wana1011 facebook page. Whew! And to think that we would have all missed out on your wonderful experience! How awesome Shannon! Thank you so much for sharing it.

    1. Karen Post author

      Oh my goodness. Now don’t be giving me a big head Debra. I’m just a newbie like so many of us. But I’m so glad you liked it. I try to find things that inspire me. When I found this picture, I just knew I had to write about her. Not until I did some research did I discover how much we had in common socially with the Gorilla. What a magnificent creature!

  8. Jennette Marie Powell

    I always knew I had a great bunch of writing friends in my local RWA chapter, but it was ehen I published my first book that I learned how awesome they are and how much their support means to me. Great post – I’m happy to be part of this wonderful new community with you!

    1. Karen Post author

      I’ve heard that about the RWA, that they are truly supportive. Well, l think that our wana group will equal their reputation! Thanks Jennette!

  9. Coleen Patrick

    Great post Karen!
    This whole social media thing is definitely a new world for me, but it’s so cool to have found this community of writers–you included (and not just because you’re Irish!)

  10. Patricia

    Of course I’m reaching out – that’s why I’m here. Another great post Karen. You’re really getting the hang of this blogging thing. Keep it up!

    Gorillas are such interesting creatures. I love to watch them care for their young and each other. Humans can definitely learn a thing or two from them.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  11. Prudence MacLeod

    Look into the eyes of these magnificent creatures and you cannot deny our kinship, however remote in time. We are all the creatures of the Universal Creative Force. May we always remember that.
    Thanks for another great post.


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