Bat Story

Stories and Personal Essays


It flew quickly around my living room. Small, black, bigger than an insect. A bird? A bat! But it was daytime. It was a bat, and it was darting about. I remembered last time there was one in the house. Again I was alone. That time scared, not knowing what to do. Open the door and they will go out, I remembered. I felt calm this time, but then it fell to the floor in the living room. It lay there like a crumpled leaf or intricate origami creature. It was still. Dead? I wondered as I went closer to see. Saw movement. A tiny accordion wing stretched out slowly. I could see its eyes, its fur. Ok, let me show you the door, I said to my new little friend, as I picked up it up on a piece of paper, moved it toward the outside. It flew toward the open door, but stopped hard on its edge. It didn’t want to go outside. Not yet. I gave it a gentle nudge and it flew, I wasn’t sure where. Inside or outside. Inside, because there it was on the kitchen floor.

I realized I needed some guidance, some education about bats. Made a couple of calls. They don’t like to go out until nighttime, I was told. Hmm, I see. The second call I was told to take a damp cloth, put it over the bat, carry it outside, close the door. Let it fly. I followed those instructions, but the poor little thing fell to the deck. Dead again? I worried. But no, when I checked, it had moved closer to the step. I made another call. Bats can’t start from the ground and fly up, I was told.

Okay. The bat and I had a conversation. Let me put you on the handrail, then you will be higher and able to swoop down and then fly up. Using an envelope, I picked him up gently. He seemed to work with me as I tried to get him on the surface. I think he picked up my intentions. This time he really stretched out. I could see all of him, his eyes, his tongue, his beautiful rubbery wings and hairy back. He was cute. A cute bat. The handrail concept worked. As soon as I put him down he flew, swooped down, then up onto the large redwood tree, where he held on. That’s the last place I saw him. I checked an hour later. He was gone. Tucked further into the redwoods’ embrace until nighttime, when he could do his bat thing.

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