There’s been a bit of batty banter on Twitter.
American author Julie Anne Lindsey (@JulieALindsey on Twitter) tweeted that she’d had her basement ruthlessly invaded by a bat, which brought to mind the time I got followed home by a [insert collective noun for bats here] of bats. I could just look up the collective noun for bats, but I really want it to be a ‘squeak’ and don’t want to have my illusions shattered when I find out it isn’t.
Anyway. Julie and her family finally plucked up the courage to enter the afore mentioned basement again, and they found said bat asleep on the ceiling. They carefully took him down and he didn’t even wake up – look, she tweeted a picture:
As soon as I saw that picture pop up in my twitter feed it reminded me of when I was really tiny, and was out for a walk with dad. It’s one of those moments I remember really vividly. I wrote about it once, and after a quick check I realised I haven’t included it in my blog, so here it is….
I was very small. Either that, or the hedges and trees were very big. No, I must have been very small. It was a hot, bright, sunny day, and dad and I were walking up the narrow road out of town on our way to visit the farm at the top of the hill. Sometimes there were lambs, and the farmer let me feed them from a bottle. Or was that just once? Maybe that’s what would happen next. Anyway, it was hot, bright and sunny, I was small, the hedges and trees were big, and I was with dad.
We were walking on the right-hand side of the road (Always Remember the Country Code) and our progress was slow as we’d keep stopping to investigate flowers and other interesting things on the verge and in the hedgerow. Maybe I picked some flowers for mum with my chubby little hands.
Then I saw it.
It was nestled in the grass under the hedge, eyes shut tight. I might have poked it carefully, but if I did it wouldn’t have moved. I showed dad, and he bent down to look – probably with a ‘Oooh, aaaaah’ – and told me it was a sleeping bat, just a little one, maybe a baby one. I’d never seen a real bat before, and he pointed out its delicate, folded wings. But why was it sleeping on the ground? I knew bats went to sleep hanging upside-down from branches. Perhaps it had fallen off its twig? Dad agreed – or maybe he suggested that – and he gently picked up the tiny thing in his big daddy hands and somehow got it hooked on a twig in the hedge so that it looked like a proper bat again. We carried on walking.
Of course it wasn’t asleep. But I must have been very small, maybe so small that dad didn’t want to explain Death to me. When I was a bit bigger and learnt about Death, I remembered that little bat and wondered why dad had lied to me.
Now I’m older I know he’d just been trying to protect his little girl, and not spoil the lovely walk in the countryside on that hot, bright, sunny day, with the hedges and trees, the Country Code, and maybe the possibility of lambs to feed.
Or maybe the bat was asleep? Maybe, by hanging it back up in the hedge, dad saved it from being eaten in its sleep by a sudden fox? And maybe when it woke up that night and stretched its batty wings, it vaguely remembered having one of those ‘falling’ dreams, and remembered a huge hand gently lifting it up off the grass…
My dad, my protector, with his big gentle hands.
I’ll never forget that little bat.
So that’s my little bat memory. I’m very glad I had the chance to share what I’d written with dad before we lost him – he remembered it vividly too, and said he was surprised I remembered it so clearly as I had been very little at the time. And he said he was sure it was dead, and I’d hit the nail on the head as to why he’d agreed it was sleeping…
But now, after hearing about Julie’s experience, I’m wondering if our little bat perhaps was just sleeping after all – in which case maybe we did save it from a sudden fox, and maybe it did have a little batty dream…