"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

25 June 2011

Bats and Swallows

Down below, in the greater metroplex, once summer came, my daughter and I would take walks in the deepest blue of evening. In that twilight time between the last fading of the day and the coming of true night, we would spy bats. It was great fun. A hobby we would call bat watching. Our highest count was one-hundred sixty-five little brown bats, the most common of species in this part of the world.

Now, many, many lifetimes later, I still watch the dusk skies. The ting of light and its shades upon the daylight's fading clouds. I am a sucker for sunsets, but perhaps I just suck.

And I still look for bats, although, up here, I know a little better. In a season, I know I'm lucky if I see twenty, and most of those of those are in the late latest of summer, upon the precipice of autumn, just before the turning of the aspens. So it goes.

Up here, as we prepare to enter a dubious time mentioned as, high summer, that, which flies, of which I see is not Pipistrellus, but something bearing feathers that devours insects as well. It is a swooping and graceful thing, which is the butt of many a locker room joke; a swallow.

I do not count these as my daughter and I do the bats, but I still catch the same smirk of joy at the swallow's prescience. They do, after all, eat the mosquitoes. In high summer, and, even and especially, in the wetter places by the rivers, like the House of Owls and Bats, this can be a boon. 

It was a particularly warm evening when I first noticed the swallows dancing over the river against the backdrop of the deepest blue of evening. An omen, perhaps, of the coming mosquitoes of high summer. Still, I raised my glass to welcome them, with the most most wicked smile of joy upon my face. The swallows themselves were an omen to me, after all. Not of high summer or of the mosquitoes, persey, but of something that comes later, of which I can enjoy counting with my daughter. To me, they foretold of the bats.


  1. In Beijing where I grew up, swallows and bats pronounced the onset of summers too. Love how you opened and ended this, rounding out a perfect scene while leaving me wanting to read more.