In mid-December my youngest son volunteered to bring home a classroom pet during the Christmas break. On the Tuesday before Christmas, when he was dismissed from school, I found myself loading not only his backpack into our van, but also a bird cage wrapped in a soft white blanket. Inside the cage were two birds – Shortbread, a cream-colored finch, and Tiger, her gray sister. No more than 3 inches tall, the finches spent the better part of the Christmas holiday in our family room. They chirped and ate seemingly unaware that the environment outside their cage had changed. When we talked they flitted around and tweeted and when all was quiet they were quiet too.
When our cat, May May, discovered the finches I think she thought her Christmas gifts had arrived. For the remainder of the holiday she sat by the birds, patted their cage with her paw, waiting for one tiny chink in the bird-cage armor. She never left the birds’ side except to eat, drink out of the toilets, and take a romp in her litter box. I was concerned when we left the house, so to be sure Shortbread and Tiger were safe we put their cage in another room and closed the door. Otherwise, we kept a watchful eye on the birds. When the holiday break was over I whispered a silent thank you when the birds made their way back to school and the cat vs. bird show down was over. I must admit I was amazed at our cat, if for nothing else, for her persistence. Nature’s instinct to catch the birds created a focus I hadn’t seen before in her and she had one goal in mind – get the birds.
With the recent completion of my cookbook I feel like I’ve been stuck in a homogenous food rut filled with a repertoire of meals for which I need no recipes or cookbook: spaghetti, oven-fried chicken, and potato soup. This year I plan to persist and make food from some new cookbooks I’ve bought, but as I described in a previous post I also plan to keep better track of my receipts, read at night with my older children, and maybe even set up an aquarium. More importantly, I’ll do my best to persist in the pursuit of these endeavors even if I feel the odds are against me. Similar to our cat’s goal to catch those darn birds, my goals will also require day-in and day-out persistence. At the end of 2011 if I meet any of my goals I’ll have my cat to thank. For in a strange sort of way she taught me something –to persist. To keep trying in spite of the obstacles that seemingly stand in the way.