Sunday, January 25, 2015

Bat Herding - A Magpie Memory

This is the image Tess posted for this week's Magpie Tales. I am going to slide a bit off topic from butterfly to flying critters and focus on another. I have a butterfly experience and story too, but the bat talked to me and said, "Now!"

To see the work of the other contributors to this week's Magpie Tales, go to Tess Kincaid's site here

This is a memory. It is not made up. It was me, my wife and her younger sister, my favorite of all my relatives, ever. We were in our two story condominium apartment. We would enter at ground level on a steep hill. The living area above was one level up in the back. We would go down stairs to the lower floor where the main bath and two bedrooms were. The main bedroom had a glass wall at the back of the condo and a small patio at ground level because the hill had sloped enough to do that. Above that patio was a wood deck outside the living room with its glass wall.

The condo design was common wall to the sides with the next unit so the windows were at the rear while the door was at the front. We would enter into our upper floor living area, into the small hall beside the kitchen on one side and the upper half bath on the other. Next would come the dining area, then the three step down to the sunken living area. Then loop around to the left and the stairs to the lower level going back toward the front of the condo. At the base of the stairs was the main bath while to the left were the two bedrooms. At the front of the house under the kitchen was the smaller bedroom and main bath and at the back under the living area with the same three steps down was the main bedroom.

Why the owner had installed the dark brown, nearly black cork square tile with random pattern sound holes in the living area I do not know. The place was quite dark because of that cork board wall. Bats loved it. It was perfect for them, being the same color they were and having all those holes to latch onto. The ceiling was extra high because the three steps down from the entry level was not matched in the ceiling. That gave that cork wall an extra 21" so the ceiling was nearly 9' above the living area floor. That meant any bat could choose to be well away from humans.

This condo was the last place we rented. We lived there almost four years. In 1981, things changed. The owner wanted to sell. We thought we might buy the condo but before we actually got very far in that process we found a house and bought it instead.

This is about the right size and shape of the bat in my poem but this is a representative picture. I did not catch the bat, just shooed it out.

Bat Herding
(Lake Grove Condos
Spring, 1979 - late evening)

So we're hanging out
in the living room just shootin'
the shit and the fact
that bats live in the trees
nearby comes up and I say
our corkboard south wall
attracts them and I look
high up, then say
"Just like that one."

At that point the women freak
and I start laughing
and I get the broom
and in a comedy of bat herding
I finally get it to fly out
the front door.
The women, who have
meanwhile huddled
out on the back deck scream,
"Shut that goddam door!"

‎January ‎25, ‎2015 11:11 AM


  1. oh hahah I once had to chase a bat out the house with a tennis racket!

  2. My bats are only in the belfry! LOL :-)

    1. I suppose but I bet you are more keen than you are admitting here.

  3. Sprightly, imaginative, enjoyable...

  4. This made me giggle...I happen to love bats...there are four who circle my head in the summer evenings when I ride my bicycle...

    1. You should have seen Betsy go ass over teakettle when the bat started swooping through the apt.

    2. And, I too love bats. I would never willingly kill one. At this house, Francie has hung a bat house which we hoped bats would use. No such luck but as we sit out in summer's late evening we see many bats on patrol anyway.

  5. Yikes.

    We get a lot of bats in the sky at night, but I'm not so sure I would want them on my ceiling! ;)

    1. We were quite conscious that as we were told, nearly all wild bats in Oregon carry rabies.

  6. We have a bat that flies by our apartment every night. He sure is fast. :-)

    1. Most places if you look and are aware that bird flight has a different visual character as does bat flight, in deep dusk most places you see bats.

  7. This reminds me of being in Best Buy as the teen cashiers and I huddled under the counter as a bat (doubtless freaked out by the bright lights of the store) tried to find a door and exit. I would have joined the freak out. :)

    1. Poor misunderstood critters... :(* They are very shy but if you liked them they would like you...and they hardly ever drink blood.


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