Archive for July 19th, 2007

The bat-poet

My neighbor S. told me that the last couple of nights, she and her family have watched several bats flit around their front yard.  “Come out at 8:45 if you want to see them,” she said.  I was a little skeptical that the bats would be that punctual, but at 8:43 we were on their porch with S.’s family and another family from across the street—and the first flutter of wings came a minute or two later.  I couldn’t tell whether they were “little brown bats, the color of coffee with cream,” as Randall Jarrell describes the bat-poet in his children’s book, because it was the right time of day for seeing bats: dark on the ground but with some light still in the sky to see their silhouettes against.  They hustled flappingly around the yard, across the street, over neighbor R.’s roof, and back again.  They seem to love S.’s yard, perhaps because it is rich in mosquitoes?  Then they were gone.  According to the internets, the adult bats come out to find water and then to hunt.  They may be feeding young bats not yet able to fly. 

One of the smaller children stood on the edge of S.’s porch with a Batman cape on, flapping it.  All of the kids were pretty quiet, watching the bats.  This summer I’ve been imagining them in the future, saying to one another, Remember when M. drained her pool and let us all play in the two feet of water left in the bottom of it?  Remember the ice-cream truck with the jingle that was out of tune?  Remember how we used to play soccer across three front yards?  And now: Remember how we used to sit on S.’s porch when it got dark in the summer and watch the bats fly around?