News with Richard Bleil
What an exciting morning. Star, my roommate and cat, was apparently up and jumpy. In my dazed and still half asleep state I could tell she was running around the room. It was terribly early for me, but I’m retired. The rest of the world, had it not been a Sunday, would have been getting ready to head to work. The fluttering sound she was making made me think that she’s again having issues with allergies, a usual problem for her this time of year.
So I lifted my head enough to look for her, when I noticed that something was in the room. My first thought was a bird, but it didn’t take time to realize that there was a bat, flapping overhead, flying laps around the room trying to find a way out.
This was no baby bat, either. Its wingspan must have been over a foot. A small spark in my brain told me that I should panic, but honestly, I adore bats. The logic center started spewing out all kinds of facts about how they don’t attack people, very rarely carry rabies, and typically don’t bite. I closed the door to the room to limit its airspace (and my pursuit), and stood watching as it flew circles, very close to my face.
I probably should have thrown her out, but I kept Star in the room. She’s honestly a great hunting partner, and I have yet to see a “kill” streak in her. She’s almost like a pointer. She can find mice as they try to hide and sit, staring and sniffing, and when she manages to get on, she’ll carry it in her mouth, but usually won’t try to kill it.
As the bat made circles, I could sense that it was getting tired. I don’t know if I could pick up that it was slowing down, or becoming more clumsy, but it seemed to be needing a rest. I grabbed a large, soft and thick robe that I normally have on my bed so I can put it on quickly if need be, and planned out an attempt at an aerial capture. I figured the robe was soft enough to hopefully prevent injuring the bat, but I did fear breaking the delicate bones in its wings. If it struggled or tried to bite, I figured the robe was thick enough that it wouldn’t be able to get to me.
For a very brief moment, the bat found a nail that had been left by a previous house owner sticking out by the window and grabbed it, hanging, but with its wings outstretched. It just wasn’t enough for it to be comfortable, and as I considered how to get on the bed to capture it, it once again took flight. After a few more passes, it landed on a stack of (far too many) gun boxes from purchases of my collection. It kind of fell down between the boxes and the wall.
Star was on the bed, straining her neck to see and smell this new visitor. Carefully, I began removing boxes from the top of the stack. After removing a few, I could hear the bat moving in the remaining boxes. About halfway down, the bat meekly crawled out of the box stack on all fours onto the bedroom floor. Star leapt onto the floor, and put her nose near this strange flying mouse, sniffing and exploring. I quickly put my robe over our new friend, thankful that the wings were folded in.
I could feel the mouse in the robe, and picked it up, swaddling it as I did. The bat didn’t seem very happy, no doubt worried about its fate, and seemed to scratch and struggle just a little bit as I went downstairs.
As I opened the back door, it was cool, and dawn was just breaking. The overcast sky was light as I carefully unwrapped the robe. I wasn’t sure where exactly the visitor was in the layers of robe, so I was being very cautious and slow. Then, there it was.
The final layer was peeled back, and I opened my hand. The bat crawled out of the last remaining crevice of the robe. Instead of flying off immediately, it seemed to cling onto the soft warm robe to look at me. As we considered one another, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beautiful brown fur, the black leathery wings, and the bright alert eyes. It’s mouth was open, showing off its glowing white teeth, either trying to catch its breath or as a reminder to me in case I decided to try anything after all. For several seconds, my new friend and I just got to know one another.
And then it took flight. Flying off over my carport and shed, it seemed to know its way home, just as I turned back to mine, just a little bit lonelier than it had been moments before.