Today I Buried a Squirrel
by, 06 Jun 11 at 01:32 (4489 Views)
Boy...it's slow out there in the world of gaming. Well, not totally slow. Gaming has recently been blessed with the wonderful indie title Frozen Synaspe (it has been garnering straight 9/10s & 4/5s...I told you it was good!), and Combat Mission: Battle for Normandy has been sneaking into my playlist as well. And I am sure this week is going to be super-busy what with E3 kicking off, so stay tuned for a lot of news (fingers crossed), hopefully with some of it proving exciting enough to remind me why I am a gamer in the first place. Outside of that stuff, though, I have sort of hit a dry hole when it comes to finding any inspiration to write about gaming for this blog, albeit, I did recently have a good run with Arma II and Frozen Synapse. I haven't even been able to come up with anything for Chess, something that really has become an unreachable itch with me as this blog, a Chess blog, hasn't had any Chess action in a long time. That's the way it goes, I suppose. I guess one of the nine muses - the one responsible for the low rung of gaming journalism - has been calling in sick. At least, I hope that is what happened, and it is not that she moved on to a better gig, like inspiring writers who specialize in more respectable hobbies, such as taphophilia or beetle fighting.
Anyway, this brings me to my squirrel. I was outside today, puttering around, not really in the mood to do anything as it still feels like late spring around here - cool and damp - when I literally stumbled across a dead gray squirrel. It scared me to be honest, as it was a big male that was just lying there on its side, with a fully open eye staring at me in an accusatory fashion - why, I don't know because I never met this squirrel before and didn't do anything to it. It didn't seem to have died violently, but must have died recently for reasons I won't go into here. For some reason, it made me sad to see it laying there like that in all its rodent glory. I don't know why, it just did.
So I went into the garage and got a spade and returned to the scene of the crime (crime? Where did that come from?). As I started to dig a hole, I wondered if it would be missed in its squirrel empire. Was this an important squirrel? Was it loved? Hated? Or was it just an anonymous squirrel, running around on its wally nut errands when it met with some random misfortune?
Before too long I had dug a hole in the soft spring ground. Little by little I used the tip of the shovel to gently nudge the deceased creature inside the pit and then began to cover it up with shovelfuls of the displaced soil. I recall that this reverse act of creation - putting something into nothing - made me nervous. I didn't understand at the time why I felt that way, and I still don't understand now. Regardless, I put my unease aside and pressed on with my task. Strangely, I soon heard a voice chanting "I'm sorry; I am so sorry" over and over again. I was a bit perturbed to later discover it was my own voice.
I then went into the garage, grabbed a roll of duct tape, returned to the squirrely grave, found two sticks and fashioned them into a cross, for every grave needs a marker. This, of course, is not without controversy. The Catholic Church officially holds no position on whether or not animals go to heaven, but it does affirm that all living things possess a soul. However, seeing that a great deal of Catholic theology is founded upon Aristotelian logic, and since Aristotle held - and St. Thomas Aquinas later affirmed - that only rational creatures possess an immortal soul (as opposed to an animal's transient "sensitive soul"), it seems likely that animals do not go to heaven, making this a pointless exercise. However, I have always been mindful of Tertullian's “alma naturaliter Christiana” observation, that is: "the soul is naturally Christian". Sure, like Aristotle, he was probably only speaking of a human soul, but I always figured why take a chance? Better safe than sorry. I mean, even if an animal's soul may not be found in heaven, one must never forget that, in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:Animals are God's creatures. He surrounds them with his providential care. By their mere existence they bless him and give him glory. Thus men owe them kindness. We should recall the gentleness with which saints like St. Francis of Assisi or St. Philip Neri treated animals. (CCC 2416)
So, I figure, at worst I am guilty of misplaced sentimentality. But perhaps, just perhaps, my misplaced mission to the world of sensitive souls might be grasping at a larger reality, one where it is conceivable that, at some later intemporal moment (try to ponder that for awhile), God may pull the lost souls of our animal brethren from the nothingness:For the cosmos, Revelation affirms the profound common destiny of the material world and man:There's a lot you can read into that, but to me, it sounds like a new Eden. With that in mind, can you have a garden without animals?
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay.... We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles, should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the risen Jesus Christ. (CCC 1046-1047)
So, by now, you are probably asking what's my point here. Just this:
Today, I buried a squirrel.