Bats in the Writer’s Belfry

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I have a three-season writing room. Four-season, if I light the wood stove and heat the place up. Finishing the roughed-in room over my husband’s workshop was one of the first projects I undertook when moving to the wilderness of Oregon.

Wilderness naturally entails a plentitude of wildlife, and my writing room has endured its share of feathered, winged, and furry visitors.

I love it when the hummingbirds fly in the window and hover over my head before zipping out again.

I didn’t even mind when the walls filled with wasps. The room vibrated with a soft hum while I sat peacefully among them and wrote. After two years of friendly buzzing around my head, they mysteriously moved out all on their own.

Then the bats moved in.

We are a bat-friendly household even though Nature Boy (aka the husband) has watched a few too many Dracula movies. He swears that “Batty” swoops at him as he runs the gauntlet from the door to the car every morning.

For two years, the bats and their buddies have been partying in my writing room, and it didn’t look like they intended to take a hint from the wasps and relocate any time soon. In fact, they were inviting their friends to take up residence. It was getting a little crowded, and though bat poop isn’t horrifyingly gross, it’s still gross.

So, a week ago, it was time for Batty and his buds to git.

The first task was to plug up their access to the room, which meant closing the gaps around the windows and doors, hauling the nail gun and compressor up there and securing the wooden slats on the ceiling. I knew where they were getting in because I could see the grubby mess left by their little hands and feet. Eeek.

Then I needed to find them. In US politics, you follow the money; when seeking bats, you follow the poop.

Photo by John Pearce via Flickr

I found two tiny fellows, no bigger than my thumb, hanging behind my picture frames.  I opened the door and windows, and fitted with gloves, nudged the little guys from their roosts. That probably wasn’t the best idea, because I found myself in a small room ducking and weaving as two bats flitted, swooped, and dove around my head.

The dummies had no idea where the windows and door were, and all three of us were in a bit of a panic. I considered running out of the room screaming, but I feared they’d simply find a new place to hide. And honestly, I’ve never been particularly scared of wild animals, so I stayed and encouraged them with a kind voice to scram!

Finally, Batty and his cousin flitted out the window and I slammed the thing shut quick!  After that, it was a matter of a deep clean, and my writing room is ready for the summer. It’s been a week and no new visitors… yet.

Bat Friendly Facts from the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and me:

  • Oregon’s bats do not turn into vampires.
  • They eat only insects. An adult bat eats about 1,000 insects every hour!
  • Bats hang upside down because it gives them an ideal position for take-off.
  • Bats can fly 20 to 30 miles an hour and travel more than 100 miles a night.
  • A baby bat is called a pup because it’s so cute and furry.
  • Bats are not birds.
  • They’re the only flying mammal.

 

Beneath, Below, I Go.

Mermaid (title unknown) by Victor Nizovtsev

Mermaid (title unknown) by Victor Nizovtsev (Link to Source)

If you haven’t stumbled across Richard Ankers’ blog, you are missing something special. I’m having a crazy week, so what better time to share a piece of stunning writing. I’ve closed comments, so please let Richard know what you think.

And, if you like his style of writing, you might check out his book, The Eternals. I’ll vouch for some beautiful writing. Enjoy his story:

Beneath, Below, I Go

The sea rose in tumultuous swells rocking my small boat like a hammock in a hurricane. With each undulation I would rise up to God, stretch out my hands in prayer, only to be dragged away. The sky had never seemed so near yet so far.

I’d grown long past the point of uneasiness, my stomach having vacated it’s contents the previous evening. All that remained was my soul — I wasn’t ready to give it up without a fight. With no food and only half a bottle of tepid water, I knew time against me, but I refused to yield; I owed it to the others. That’s when I saw her. That’s when I knew hope.

She dipped up and down like a buoy brought to life, a demarcation to more hazardous waters — weren’t they all. I rubbed my eyes but only managed to knead salt into them. By the time I’d finished blinking, her aquamarine fingers clung to the boat.

I backed away — for what good that extra foot did — and waited as she peeped over the rotting wood; she was the most beautiful creature I’d ever seen. More defined than a dream, yet more surreal than reality, her topaz eyes took me in appraising me from head to toe…. (continue reading: Beneath, Below, I Go.)