Column: Setting boundaries with some new furry friends Leave a comment


“A new family! How exciting, maybe they will set up here in our community,” says Sam and Sue!

The two watched from their perch as the new family began the journey to set up their temporary home. Sam and Sue knew they would not stay long, no one ever did. Not sure why, it is just the way it is. They watched closely and stayed hidden out of sight.

The new family began building their temporary home on this space they would inhabit for a few days. The children played and explored while mom, dad and gramma set up.

Sam and Sue watched quietly from a distance. Sue turned to Sam and gestured toward the screened cover that would be the dining tent. They jumped for joy at the sight of it and scampered off their perch to investigate. This would be the family’s place to eat. How convenient it would mean there would be lots of treasures for Sam and Sue to collect!

Little did we know we were being watched as we set up our camp at Six Mile Lake this past week. Little did we know we had fast friends watching our every move scrutinizing who we are and what we might offer. Friends who wasted no time scampering into our view and making their presence known. Two little chipmunks, with stripes on their backs and flicking tails.

Friendly as a pet dog and bold as brass! Their life living here on the edge of the frog’s pond, in the rocks, making a life for themselves gathering what they could from all the different camping families. Who can resist a chipmunk? They are like kittens and puppies; everyone loves them. A decadent life in their eyes, however maybe not so good for their health.

We prepared our first meal and were quick to realize Sam and Sue invited themselves to dinner with no invitation. They scampered around under the edge of the screen room whisking quickly across under the table. The kids loved watching them.

Cute as they were we realized any encouragement at all would mean they would be up on the table or eating out of our hands. They had no fear and were quite comfortable in human presence.

It was here and now we decided to be diligent and share nothing that would encourage these brazen little souls to join us. We shooed them away. Sam and Sue ran out and stopped dead. Looked back as if to say, “what’s this? No food for us?” and proceeded to regroup.

Realizing so many families might welcome this up-close and personal touch with nature I have learned a lesson from my past that encouraging such behaviour is not fruitful and can create serious problems.

I had a squirrel once destroy our screen door because he was so bold after being fed regularly that he wanted in the kitchen and nothing was going to stop him! This lesson came to mind as we watched our chippy friends.

We and nature, while connected, live very separate lives and these lives must be respected. These two little chippys must forge and eat what they are meant to eat. Nuts, seeds, and the gatherings they collect.

Salted potato chips, cheezies, chocolate or white processed bread will not only spoil before winter, they are not good for the little chippy’s digestive system.

As we protected the little guys, I wondered how many of us need to think about this in our own daily lives. What we love is often not good for us. What is easy, like pickins from under a picnic table or there to be grabbed from the grocery store shelves, is not good for our overall health.

The long haul is compromised and challenged as we age poorly with no help from the very food we eat. While we are often willing to accept the easy route, like handouts from a picnic table, when that becomes our dependence or routine then the long game is lost quickly.

If these two little chippys depended solely on picnic and camper handouts what in the world do they do in January when the campground is closed?

Our chipmunk friends stayed with us all week. They scurried around and at one point one ventured into the toy tent. Once in there they freaked out realizing I was standing at the door looking at them and they had no way out. I stepped aside and quickly they ran away.

I was sitting on a rock and one ventured right up to my toes and looked at me. I had nothing for them but a smile, handing them any food might encourage them to try to take from the baby’s hand and that is no good for either of them.

They were so cute to watch always working and scampering around collecting things, playing and running. They did manage to get into a loaf of bread on the table that we had left out, for a brief moment, unattended after breakfast one morning. We also found a spoon licked clean behind the tent with a few incriminating chew marks in it. They are crafty I give them that. Well trained at their craft of stealthily capturing the crumbs of the unaware camper.

Overall, they got little from us. If we could have paid the price of admission in some other way to watch their show I would have done so, however was unwilling to pay with food.

My lack of giving was for their better health. Maybe next time I will bring a package of seeds and put little piles away from our tents so they can feast on something good.

I do that also with those folks who choose to damage their bodies with poor diet, food choices and addictions. They can choose to do it, however I will not aid and abet in their choice to self-destruct, as best I can.

Education is the key and I work hard at educating people how to better fuel their body with good choices and exercise. It has taken me 30 years to learn what I know about caring for my body, mind, and soul. It does not happen overnight. One step at a time brings you one step closer to a better life filled with joy, peace, and good health.

Once home, showered and all camping gear secured away in its storage spot, I made my dinner. There were no chipmunks scurrying to grab what I might drop and no children to follow to keep them safe, and everything was easily at my fingertips.

A little lonely if I am to be honest. As I reached for the double fudge chocolate non-dairy frozen dessert, I thought of the family that might be on our campsite this weekend feeding Sam and Sue things that are not good for them.

Maybe indulging in things that are not so good for us now and again is okay. At least that is what I told myself as I took my sweet dessert to my chair and tuned into Netflix!

Cynthia Breadner is a grief specialist and bereavement counsellor, a soul care worker and offers specialized care in Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy with special attention as a cognitive behavioral therapy practitioner and trauma incident resolution facilitator.  She volunteers at hospice, works as a LTC chaplain and is a death doula, assisting with end-of-life care for client and family.  She is the mother part of the #DanCynAdventures duo and practices fitness, health and wellness.  She is available remotely by safe and secure video connections, if you have any questions contact her by email today!  





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