All the new findings of animals intelligence and playfulness take me back to the same place. My mother. She always said animals are more intelligent than they are given credit for.
My mother grew up in the woods of southern Alberta. Her father was a section foreman for the railways and they lived in places where the only population was the other people who worked for the railways. So one place was population thirteen and another population seven. She spent a lot of time observing animals and nature and was always happiest when she was near a forest.
I, on the other hand, grew up in a city. A small city indeed but there were a lot of people, in my view. I wasn't sure exactly how smart something like a chipmunk was.
Later on, when I was in my twenties, I went to the woods: Algonquin Park. I went twice. Once, I have written about, this is the second time.
I found the chipmunks enchanting and lively and at one campsite where I settled in one came to play at night on my tent. It was strange and something I never thought an animal would do. The little guy climbed up one side of my tent, which was a wedge tent, and then slid down the other side. It did this over and over again and I just knew it was playing a game and enjoying itself, yes, having fun.
Again and again the chipmunk would climb up one side and slide down the other. It was pitch black but I couldn't sleep, I was too entranced. The next night the little guy jumped into my food, which was hanging from a branch. So it figured out how to get my food.
I thought of my mother that night and wished she were there. Maybe she could tell me of times when she was a child and some wild animal had played with her, something that would let me know how she had known about animal intelligence. After all, although sliding is not rocket science, it would have taken some thinking to figure out that it could slide there.
Now I agree with my mother that animals are probably smarter than we think.