Saturday, April 16, 2011

Persistence and Ingenuity

Below my feeder today are two mourning doves and one robin. On the feeder is one persistent red squirrel. Ours is a "squirrel-proof feeder," information that, apparently, no one gave to the squirrel. The slender metal perches are designed to give way when anything heavier than a sparrow lands there. It works, but not well. Bluejays merely grip more tightly when the perch dips and continue shoveling down seed.

The squirrel has a tougher time. He shinnies up and reaches across the narrow divide (about squirrel-sized) between pole and feeder and grabs onto the rim of a feeding port. Occasionally he misses, and his paw finds one of the perches, which releases, sending the squirrel plummeting to the ground. Deterred? Not a bit. Up the pole he goes again, cantalevering himself across the space, aiming again for that opening and the prize within.

Sometimes he remains like this to eat, awkwardly balanced between feeder and pole. Other times he reliquishes the pole and hangs from the edge of the hole by his front legs, wrapping his hindquarters under the feeder. Neither position looks comfortable. Neither looks elegant. But he sticks with it and gets the job done. Every day he shows up and gets the job done. There's a lesson in this for me as a writer. Some of this work may be uncomfortable and inelegant, but persistence (and ingenuity) pays off.

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