I woke up this morning to find my cat sitting outside in the grass staring up at the bird feeder in my garden. Inside the bird feeder was a squirrel eating breakfast. I stood quietly by my window watching my cat circle the base of the bird feeder. Realizing the feeder was too high for her to jump into, she began looking about for leverage. A perch, a branch, a garden decoration… anything that would give her the slightest bit of leverage in her quest to catch the squirrel.
The squirrel, understanding she was safely out of harms way, continued enjoying her morning meal. Despite the predator lurking below, she blissfully cracked open sunflower seeds, dropping shells on the cat’s head. She chirped whenever she found a piece of corn. She shook and fluffed her tail. And she contently altered her gaze from the warm sun above her to the circling cat below.
As I observed the animals, I saw two distinct forces at work: An unshakable determination by my cat and bold fearlessness on the part of the squirrel.
There was nothing my cat wanted more than to pounce on the squirrel perched eight feet above her head. I have a small table and chairs next to the bird feeder. She climbed up on each one of them, sat down, and stared upward. She would inch her way to the very edge of each perch she tried, sticking her nose out as far as possible, and calculating her chances of success should she decide to leap up into the air. She would jump down, circle again, and seek out the other possibilities for propelling. I admired her dedication toward the hunt, her thoughtful consideration of each opportunity to get closer to the squirrel, and her unwavering focus.
In contrast to the hunter, the small grey squirrel sat peacefully inside the wooden structure of the bird feeder. She knew, beyond any doubt, that she was safe. She ate her corn and seeds fearlessly. She refused to pay the least bit of concern to her stalker. She languished in the sun with her full tummy for as long as she pleased before gracefully hopping onto a cherry tree branch and scurrying up toward her nest.
I wondered a few things to myself as I watched the cat and the squirrel…
How often do I allow myself the immense pleasure of enjoying life without letting fear frame the surface of my experiences?
Am I ever as determined as my cat in the things I endeavor to do?
What happens to me in the contrast between joy, determination, and fear; and how does it affect my rate of success in the goals I set for myself?
This morning I am thankful to a cat and a squirrel for teaching me some valuable lessons about fear, peace, joy, and determination. I’m excited to see where this new perspective will lead me…