The other day I discovered that a bat is living in my garage, and has been for probably over a year now–it’s taken me that long to wrap my mind around the reality of this permanent little tenant. For about that amount of time I was finding teeny little mouse droppings in the same one or two spots; I was thinking, okay, I live with 4 cats and a dog bred for ground hunting, I should not be seeing this! I kept sweeping it out, spraying bleach, putting the outside kitties over there, the smell of the dog–nothing worked. They kept reappearing in time, but with no rustling sounds or further signs of nesting. I was baffled.
Then it occurred to me that I’ve seen bats fluttering around on the property before, and even once or twice flying in the garage–where I simply ran out of there with my hands waving around in the air, going, “aaaaakk!!!”…figuring they would just move on and forgetting about it. But now maybe there’s still one hanging out, I thought.
So that evening I went out there with a flashlight and examined the ceiling above the littered spot and–lo and behold–there it was, one loner bat with it’s smooth little jet-black head peeking out from the rafters. It sort of freaked me out, but fascinated me also; I was scared and endeared at once. He seemed so cute and to actually possess a little personality, yet at the same time my spine was crawling.
I went out there again and shined the light; he had crawled over a little bit further and I could see his little black legs, which I guess were his wings folded down. On sensing me, he retreated back into the woodwork, yet with head still poking out. My heart melted but my skin crawled! I just wasn’t quite sure how to feel about this little fella. I thought about humanely removing him, and I know this sounds kinda crazy, but I actually felt bad about that, thinking he’d probably been there for so long it was like his home and he was sort of like a pet…but…bats?….eeek! I shined the flashlight directly on him and said, “I’m not going to hurt you but I’d like you to leave, please”. I even gave him a name: Blackie.
I went back in the house and it was all I could think of; suddenly so aware of something that had been there just above my head all along. I dreamed of him and the garage most of the night! In the dream someone was telling me that bats are not bad and are actually pretty cool. Also in the dream I made a phone call, and the person answered, “Hey batty!” This little creature, which couldn’t have been any longer than three inches, shook up my world!
The next morning I went out there and could not see him, but still not convinced that he wasn’t still hanging around. I went back in the house and as I was putting water on for tea, wondered if I should call a friend who knows about these things: I knew she would have something very insightful to say about the critters, but it could have gone fifty-fifty, one way or the other. At that moment the phone rang and it was her.
“How do you feel about bats?” I asked shortly into the conversation.
“Bats?” she quickly replied, “Bats are absolutely fabulous…you’re blessed if you have them!”
I told her about the newest addition to the estate and she went on to educate me of his origins. She told me that bats are awesome, wonderful, adorable and non-aggressive little creatures who got a bad rap from Hollywood and urban legends. They’re very useful to have around ’cause they eat mosquitoes by the ton, and are even considered by some cultures to be good medicine and good luck.
She went on to tell how one time she saw a bat that was hurt or sick, and another one went over and wrapped its wings around its ailing pal. Well this all would certainly explain the endearing little aura I was sensing! It was like a mini-epiphany…and a huge sigh of relief!
Later that day I had to go into town and take care of some business. As I parked and got out of the car, something in the jewelry store window right next to me caught my eye: a beautiful antique necklace–a silver chain sporting big golden amber bat wings.
To me this experience has been a threefold lesson: that what makes you fear may actually be in your life for a very good reason; that things are rarely what they seem in life and much of what we are taught when young is simply short-sighted hooey; and last but certainly not least, all innocent creatures of God have a right to exist. Although it may take me awhile to get used to him, little Blackie is welcome back here anytime.
Throughout this little encounter with Mother Nature, my thoughts kept swinging around to a poem I wrote when I was 15 years old:
I am the bat
My eyes hold the love
of the dark lonely sky
I glide with the moon
through the shadow of eve
I dance among the stars that
shine so at ease
I am the bat
The magic of night is my home