Bats in the evening

Yesterday evening we formed a conveyor belt in the lounge to put together the Order of Services for the wedding. One person folded, another inserted, another punched holes, and another tied the ribbon. It was fun to chat and laugh while we worked away. As the evening drew in we finished up and I drifted outside to the garden. Sitting on an old futon base my parents have on the patio I breathed in the evening. Across the growing dusk small dark figures flitted with flicks like pieces of cloth flipping and flapping. They were bats, out to catch insects in the evening air.

Far from all my books I resorted to the internet to see what I could find out about them. I couldn’t really make out anything about them in the evening light except that they were bats but, being the most common in the UK, it is likely the bats I saw were Pipistrelle bats. I’m looking forward to Little Owl being old enough for me to take her on a bat watching expedition. From the Bat Conservation Trust website I learned of the Greater mouse-eared bat, of which there is only one male left in the UK. For some reason it reminded me of visiting a friend in a remote part of North Wales a few years ago.

Next door to his house was a derelict stone cottage. A tree had grown up through the roof and the walls had fallen in. He told me an old lady had lived there up until fairly recently. She had cared for her elderly parents but she had been the last of her family and following her death the cottage had fallen into disrepair. He told me her story with ease but it had a huge impact on me. How sad to be the last one left, with no one who knows how to make your tea just how you like it or laugh with you about family escapades as we had done over the Order of Services. Those funny little dark creatures flicking and flitting reminded me how precious it is to be involved in a rite of passage such as a wedding. In my modern life I can often forget the significance of such moments to our ancestors whose lives were so precarious. These were moments to stick a stake in the ground, to mark a moment, and say, today, here, we’re alive and well, and life is good.

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