Last week I shared about Link, the cat, and his murderous instincts and how focused he is. I talked about how important it is to stay intently focused on our goals, just like the hunting cat.
This week I want to share my observations about Rufus the squirrel. I’ve mentioned him before and how hard he tried to figure out a way to extract sunflower seeds from our bird feeder.
This “squirrel-proof” feeder works like this: the feeder has a metal casing which fits over a clear plastic tube. On the outside of the metal casing are three bird perches. The genius part of the feeder is this: when something beyond the weight of a bird presses down on the bird perches, it lowers the metal casing, effectively shutting off access to the holes where the seeds are.
Now this system works especially well because I’ve placed the feeder about eighteen inches out from the wall. The drop from the feeder to the ground is about twelve feet. Enough to hurt if a squirrel falls from the feeder.
For the two years that I’ve used this feeder Rufus has repeatedly tried to foil the genius feeder system.
There’s another type of squirrel who covets the sunflower seeds, but he’s way too small to reach the feeder. His method is to climb out on the metal support beam and lower himself onto the top of the feeder. Then he reaches down and tried to pop off the lid. Of course, there’s no lid, just a fused top, so he fails.
But Rufus has his eyes on those three openings where the tasty seeds sit. This is how I imagine him reasoning out his strategy:
Rufus: “There’s got to be a way. I’ll find a way. I’ve just got to. Hmm, what if I reach out with one paw?
Oops, almost fell.
How about the other paw. Oops. No, that won’t work either.
Uh oh, there’s that pesky lady, watching me. I’d better keep an eyes on her or she’ll get me with her broom, for sure.
I know, I can hold onto the railing with my back feet and strrrrrrrreeeeeeetttttch all the way to the feeder.
Got it. Ah, tasty, crunchy seeds. This is living.”
ME: I can’t believe my eyes. That smart aleck squirrel has figured out a way to get around the genius squirrel-proof system. By George, he thought that he could do it and indeed he did!
Now, besides helping himself to paw-fuls of seeds, he’s leaving little brown ‘gifts’ all over my bannister. And now, look. He’s got his girlfriend watching him. Of course, she’s not as smart, and apparently squirrels don’t teach each other, so she’s out of luck. And he doesn’t share any of his loot.
And furthermore, while he’s glutting on the bird seeds, no bird will come near. The rat!
I’ve been bested by a grey squirrel.
(This is somewhat on subject: Here I am, walking a trapeze rope bridge. It’s harder than it looks. Walking this feels a little like writing and trying to find the right publisher. A bit scary!)
Back to Rufus.
But there’s something admirable about that obnoxious and inventive squirrel. He doesn’t give up. And he doesn’t let my intimidating presence stop him, either. He keeps one eye out for danger (me) and experiments again and again. He’s the Edison of squirrels. An Einstein squirrel who can think above and beyond his ken. The Elon Musk of grey squirrels, who plans and strategizes.
I’m impressed. I need to be more liken Rufus. The Rufus who boldly eyes the prize and doesn’t quit even though all the other squirrels have. It took him two years to figure out a solution—and for a squirrel that must be 50 percent of your life—but he kept at it.
I’m kind of thinking God has a life lesson for me here. About not quitting, not listening to others when they say it can’t be done. Of trying all options. Of feeling a bit nervous—like walking the trapeze rope bridge—but persevering.
The lesson came at the right time because the last few months I’ve been feeling sluggish and discouraged about my professional life. Maybe it’s the shut-down. Maybe it’s just me. It’s something writers fight a lot especially since most of our time is spent alone. But Rufus doesn’t let discouragement stop him, and neither should I.
I’m grateful to the Lord for sending Rufus!