By Linda Vandercook • January 21, 2018
Unbeknownst to most people, January 21 is Squirrel Appreciation Day. But, to my dog, every day is squirrel appreciation day. Be like your dog—live in the moment and enjoy the simple things!
My dog, PL, is just nuts about squirrels. And he's been that way since he was a puppy. He'll chase along the fence at max speed, while they tear away along the top; invariably, PL ends up in the back corner of the yard panting, and the squirrels easily clear the last fence post and duck into the tree line. Then as soon as PL is back inside, a scout squirrel shows up, checking to see if the coast is clear. And, sure enough, they all sneak back out and continue eating away at my birdseed.
Little do they all know that I intentionally set all this up—I keep my bird feeder stocked with suet and sunflower seeds. The suet attracts the birds, and the sunflower seeds attract the squirrels. My cats watch the birds, and my dog watches the squirrels. It's like a win-win! The extra bonus round is when PL and I go into the backyard later to toss the ball—apparently those squirrel smells still linger—and he'll trace invisible, curved lines all around the lawn.
And that is really all there is to creating everyday magic. Set something in motion and watch it unfold. The pattern is known, proven, and repeatable. Nothing fancy but most rewarding. And, to be honest, the same thing applies to people. You don't need anything extraordinary to fascinate and entertain the mind.
Personally, I really like patterns and chain reactions. When I read news stories or listen to anecdotes, my first two questions are always "what brought this on" and "what happened next"? Everything has a cause, right? Action and reaction, right? And once you understand the events that build up to something, you can either (a) make things happen just the way you want them or (b) avert things from happening by simply not toppling that single, first domino.
Change, even as it is happening, can be almost imperceptible at first. And one of my favorite quotes on this is from a wall sign in the student rec center at college. It went something like this:
If I work out today, I'll sleep better. If I go to class well rested, I'll do better in school. If I score well on my finals, I'll land a good job. If I succeed in my career, I can have a bigger impact on those around me. If I can impact others, I can change the world.
Ergo: If I work out tonight, I can change the world. It's like your very own butterfly effect in the making.
Don't let the winter weather put a damper on things. Run some mental laps and do a few intellectual pushups. There is good reason to keep your mind in shape, what between the holiday fudge and those comfy knitted sweaters. And enjoy the little things, because they become very big things indeed. For starters, I recommend two smart reads for you, and one for your dog:
Don't miss the other intallments of The Dog Blog series from Linda:
About the Author: Linda Vandercook has been a Software Developer with ThriftBooks for seven years, many of them working remotely to support her husband's career in the military. She is also a strong animal advocate, volunteering at local shelters, and trying hard not to adopt every rabbit, cat, squirrel, dog, or other miscellaneous critter that shows up in her back yard. Born and raised in Sweden, Linda thinks the U.S. is the awesomest place on Earth!