Archive for April 26th, 2009

The Bats

batsI was walking to my studio this morning just as the sky was brightening.  As I neared the sidewalk leading around to my backdoor I noticed a group of three bats looping in the air above me.  They made several dives toward the chimney at this end of the studio, attempting to land under the lip of the fascia.  Eventually, one by one, they landed and disappeared under the board, between it and the chimney.

I was thrilled to see them and glad that they had taken refuge in that part of my studio.  My home and studio are located at the bottom of a small hill, more of a rise, and, as a result, our property catches much of the runoff.  With the heavy clay soil here it makes the property fairly wet which is a boon for mosquitoes and other flying pests.  Without these bats the mosquitoes would make going outside a real ordeal.  The bats feast on the mosquitoes and keep their levels low enough that we can live outside in the summer with only a bite or two, here and there.  If only the bats could control the deerflies and horseflies. 

But this made me think of how many people still fear and despise bats, keeping ancient myths alive despite scientific fact to the contrary.  The things people believe.  Bats will get tangled in your hair.  Bats crave your blood.  Bats will give you rabies- well, they can carry rabies but so can a host of other animals.  Like any wild animal, care must be taken when coming in close contact with them.

We fear and hate many things based on ancient prejudice.  Even after the myths are dispelled these prejudices live on, having become almost part of our fabric.  I still get uneasy when the bats swoop overhead until reason kicks back in and I am free to admire them and be appreciative for their service in getting rid of our mosquitoes.  But for that first moment, there is that primal response, that instinctual fear.  Makes me wonder how other aspects of my life are affected by these same sorts of ingrained prejudices, not having yet been recognized and replaced with logic.  

I’ve still got some work to do…

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