Drama Through the Window

Cat and Mouse - No squirrel

I have a friendly squirrel whom my grandson has named Chippy. He, or she, comes for his daily fill of birdseed and the handful of peanuts.

I’ve been consciously training him to come ever closer to the large patio glass doors. He looks right at me, and I at him. He is now passing the first peanuts he could eat, getting to ones closest to the door. Go figure.

I’ve slid the screen door to the side so he can come right up to the glass.

I noticed the there was a gap between the screen and glass doors. If I only half opened the screen door, I wondered if I could train it to go down the channel between the doors. It was pretty narrow and barely room to turn around. If frightened, escape would be possible but not easy.

My morning coffee gradually went to a second cup as my daily training continued. By creating a string of peanuts, as a bread crumb trail, Chippy kept coming closer.

To make it more interesting, our cat was now sitting right by the glass doors staring at Chippy. They were inches apart. Neither made any aggressive or sudden moves.

In the last few days, Chippy has been regularly travelling down the channel to retrieve all the peanuts. Yesterday he added a new twist.

After the last peanut was safely carried away and buried in a flowerpot, he returned to the glass door. The cat reached out gently with its paw to high-five the window. Chippy returned the high five. Then they both did it again. Amazing!

This homemade drama reminded me that as an older adult and senior, I could train myself to change my behaviour in the same way. Baby steps. Try it yourself.

Think of something that you are curious about, such as a food you’d like to try but never quite did, yet. What about a movie you’ve heard about but thought you might not enjoy it? What about reading a newspaper that doesn’t strongly reflect your values and beliefs?

The trick to success is to know where you stand now, figuratively, and where you’d like to try standing. Then divide the gap into as many steps as you need to successfully complete the first step. Revaluate each step’s size, adjusting it when necessary, so you can successfully take the next step. Repeat. Step. Repeat.

That first step may not change the whole world, but it might change your world.

My thanks to St. Albert Seniors Association: 780-459-0433 for making this Blog possible.

Glenn Walmsley
Volunteer