Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stalking the Feeder

My desk is directly in front of a window, and about ten feet outside that window is my bird feeder. I love birds. We get mostly sparrows and finches and juncos here, and they're fun to watch while I'm working.

Just behind the feeder is my neighbor's fence and then her lilac bushes. Now, the town I live in has an inordinate number of loose cats. This means my bird feeder is also a cat feeder. (If the cats are quick enough and the birds are slow enough, that is. Don't worry. They never are.) The cats are also fun to watch while I'm working.

Most of the cats just sit under the lilac bushes watching the birds. (There's a little black and white out there right now.) The birds wait at the top of the bushes until the cat(s) get bored, and then they go back to eating. Sometimes the juncos - spunky little things that they are - will hop down and eat on my side of the fence while the cats are watching from the neighbor's side. (Again, don't worry. The fence's holes are too small for a cat to get through and by the time the cat climbs the fence, the junco is outta there.)

Of the dozen or so cats that stalk my feeder, one cat in particular sticks out from the rest. I call her Shrubby-Kitty. She doesn't lay under the bushes to wait. She climbs into the bushes and acts like a lump of leaves. (And since she's a cream and blue tortie, she does a passable job of blending in.) I've never seen her catch a bird, but I admire her effort. She doesn't just wait at the bottom hoping for the one bird that will come close enough to pounce on. She makes the extra effort to get what she wants.

This is a lot like people, you know. It seems like most people just lay in wait, hoping to pounce on their goals if by some chance those goals come near enough. One in a dozen doesn't wait. They climb into the bushes (which don't look like the most comfortable things in the world to sit in, btw). They make the extra effort to attain their goals.

Think about how many people out there want to write a book, but never do. Think about how many others write a book, but never make the effort to learn about the query process, and so never get published. True, every once in a while, one of them does get published without any extra effort. (Just like I'm sure every once in a while, the cats under the bush get a bird.) But the person with the better shot is the one who works for it.

Just like Shrubby-Kitty. As much as I love birds, if I ever see her catch one, I'm sure I'll applaud. She's worked too hard for too long not to succeed.

So, tell me. Are you stalking the feeder, or are you climbing into the bushes to go after your prize?


Kristin B said...

Oh, I'm climbing, all right. Just wish the bush weren't so thorny. And I keep falling out of it, so I have to start from the bottom and work my way up again.

Helen Shearer said...

I used to work down the road from a bird sanctuary and I saw every kind of bird imaginable from plain old sparrows to cardinals, blue jays and pileated woodpeckers. Didn't see many cats but I once saw a great blue heron beating the snot out of a fish. It caught this poor fish and proceeded to bash the poor thing's brains out on the dock. It was very sad but I couldn't stop watching. It was like one of those nature shows where the mean old lions kill the zebras and gazelles - you really don't want to see it but it's so fascinating to watch. Poor little fishie...sob.