This I Believe

George - Birmingham, Alabama
Entered on April 12, 2007

I believe I have a soul; however, between the ages of 12 and 84 I did not believe I had a soul because the prevailing mystical, cultural, and chauvinistic definition assumes that only HOMOSAPIENS POSSESS SOULS WHICH EXIST INTO ETERNITY.

I have a brain, as do all animals, which is the electrical power center of my body. It produces thought, controls voluntary and automatic functions of the body and receives external stimuli. I have a mind which I believe is also my soul. It is not an organ of the body but is an abstract term existing as a function of my living brain.

I was born with an innate moral sense plus a DNA signature of exclusive characteristics determined by the genes it contains. During my life environmental experiences, including some meaningful mnemic events, are synthesized by my brain and stored in the mind/soul memory system of my brain. These events further modify my character, for good or bad, into my essence of being, my quintessential self which relates to those who come to know me. After I die my relative immortality will exist in the memories of those who came to know me.

The brains of animals function with the qualities very similar to ours. I must tell you about a Tabby cat I came to know. Once I had a large barn about two blocks from some polo stables where horses and a number of cats and dogs were kept. My barn had three stalls, a hay loft, and room for a pickup truck. In two of the stalls I kept two Tennessee Walkers, a mare and a gelding. In the third stall I kept a large Yazoo lawnmower with a high seat over the rear wheel. My twice a day routine involved feeding the horses grain and hay, scattering whole kernel corn for my pair of white domestic geese and a variable number of Canada geese while a large white rabbit with a black nose and a black floppy ear nibbled in the grass near the barn. During the feeding I kept up a soothing conversation with the animals.

Several times in the months of September and October of 1997 I noticed a Tabby cat up in the rafters of the barn intently following my activity. Then one cold December morning as I entered the barn by the lawnmower there sat a Tabby kitten in the seat; she looked up and greeted me with a soft “meow”. I took her into the basement. The next morning in the seat was her brother with a soft “meow”. I carried him in with his sister. The next moring sitting behind the lawnmower was the Tabby mama looking up at my kitchen window. I carried the kittens out and set them on the ground. they ran to the mama cat. She laid down and let them nurse. THe next morning she was sitting there when I carried the kittens out and set them down and as they approached her she made a little hissing sound and waved them away with a paw. They stopped short and sat down. She got up and went back to the polo stables and never came back.

She had placed her kittens in a safe home by giving them to me. I have never been so honored. THe souls of those cats will remain immortal in my memory as long as I live.