Sonnet VIII - Bat Sequence Grand Finale
The last of the bat sequence, presented as a story in sonnets and images.
I’ve read so much about you, seen you in pictures, videos. Merlin Tuttle wrote well about you and him together, and now all I want is to have you up close. At dusk I’ve gone out, hand in glove, in hopes that you’ll fly to me by divine command. I’ve hopped in car, with kids, drove over land to Arabia Mountain, to AWARE, thinking maybe I’ll find you there by chance. I’ve walked to bridge over Yellow River ducked beneath to see if you’re roosting there. To know you distantly is not enough. You are worth much more than all of life’s cares. To spend time with you up close would be wealth.
The folks at AWARE referred me to a place in Alabama where I might see you up close. But, somehow, I lost the name of that place – it seemed unnecessary to have to leave my own vicinity. “You should be at hand.” I thought to myself. During Fall break, I searched the internet and found you at North Georgia Wildlife Park. I made a call and expressed my mindset and though there was doubt, the prospect seemed dark, I bought a ticket with faith in my heart. Saturday, I drove up north and met face- to-face with guardians of God’s great art and to my delight, they granted me grace.
In Georgia, native wildlife species cannot be kept as pets. I learned this from our park guide. (Was this why they referred me to Alabama? Can it be that some states cannot boast about conservation?) Exotic species, handlers are allowed to keep, to educate ignorant crowds (such as capybaras, world’s biggest rats – and, did you know that rats’ minds are quite sound?) which is why I saw Egyptian fruit bats, instead of bats from local habitats. I would’ve liked to see, to touch, those in my front yard – to give thanks for where I’m at. But, wow! At least I touched bats. I’m content
Four adult fruit bats huddled warm inside of a zoo-sized bat house, built by Boy Scouts. Bat-mama, Hope, opened door; breeze and light sent an introvert swinging back to crowd in the corner, where they all hung around upside down (like bats do) inside cozy little sleeping bag, that was made by proud foster-parents of wildlife. Rosy cheeked Hope, in hip pouch carried a fuzzy pup, and explained she had to raise the chap because mother bat didn’t touch baby after he had fallen from roost. With rapt gestures she showed how pup, to her, had clung - and I saw scratches, scars: trophies she’s won.
Large, round eyes, looking at me; bats aren’t blind. Quick, purposed movements; bats know what they need. Rapidly twitching ears, aware, alive to voices, noises, foreign and routine; bats know their family’s sounds and mama’s speech. Flaring nostrils, sniffing snout discerns scents, rejecting berries, wanting apples, please; bats have preferences for their nourishment. Spreading, flapping wings, showing nervousness, scurrying to a warm, familiar place – bats need relief from over-engagement. It was a pleasure to meet face-to-face with one of the world’s most obscure creatures. I was blind, but now know bats’ true features.
Thanks so much to all of you who have subscribed, and have been reading my sonnets, and recommending them to others! It encourages me a lot and challenges me to continue on.
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If you do send me monetary support, specifically as a result of this bat series, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Creation Encounters Ministries, which is a ministry, in partnership with North Georgia Wildlife Park, that helps kids and youth encounter Christ in his creation. (Please indicate in your donation that you are giving toward the "bat fund".)