We receive the gift of a bat while watching Victoria & Abdul

Sleeping girl in forest with bats
Night visitor. Photo Credit Pixabay

It was approximately 9:30pm, my husband and I seated on the sofa downstairs watching Victoria and Abdul, a bowl of popped buttered corn between us. Our son upstairs behind shut doors, our daughter and her friend taking a night dip in the pool after their evening run. The door dividing the screened porch open to the elements but screened from the bugs.  Or so we thought.

“How did it get in here,” my daughter later asked.

“Maybe it was following a moth. They eat moths, don’t they?” someone offered in reply.

We can’t say for sure what drew it in. It had never entered our house before, nor had any of its kind. It seemed to be in a hurry though, its beautiful, silent body flying soundlessly through the opened doors of the porch, past the mesh screen to dance a circle around our heads in pursuit of an unidentified prey.

“There’s a bat in our house.” I don’t know who said it first. More husband or I. We were both equally startled. We’ve had uninvited visitors before, mostly courtesy of the cats, but no cat had invited the bat in. Nor had the dogs, which remained, somehow, blissfully unaware of our visitor for the 30-45 minutes it was with us.

And so began the pursuit of our graceful guest. How does one catch a bat? I am not sure. I got a net from the pool box used for retrieving frogs and the unfortunate rodents who have ventured over the edge. My husband, a pair of leather gloves from the basement. Thinking that the net might not be enough, I grabbed a thick cotton blanket from the closet and began to search the rooms with my husband.

Here’s the thing about bats. They are not only silent and swift, most of them, like this nocturnal flyer, rely upon echolocation for their sight. They are much better at navigating space than we are. It was a comical chase, to be sure, but we really didn’t think so at the time, well not all of us. Bats have a way of opening our fears, as well as our sense of wonder. I realized in those 45 minutes what our unexpected visitors was triggering in each of us.

My daughter and her friend found amusement, laughing when they discovered what we were dealing with. They were also safely outside. My son seemed satisfied enough to stay behind the closed doors to keep the bat out of the room. Those of us tasked with the challenge of leading the bat back out to where it came from, were not as stable with our emotions. I was fine until it flew by, my husband less so. “I’ve been bitten by animals before,” he reminded me when I told him that our panicking would likely only increase the bat’s panicking.

When we stop to observe and watch ourselves in these moments when our fears are triggered, we can learn a lot about ourselves. Having had more practice in this than my husband, because of my studies with the Silent Eye School of Consciousness, and yoga, I was able to step into that role of observer.

What if you get bit? I asked myself. I thought of rabies and decided I didn’t like that option, but I also thought about the bat as a teacher and as a guest who was there for a purpose that might not be entirely obvious at first. Here before me was this magnificent animal, a mammal like me, but with the ability to fly at will. We were, I realized, both night-flyers. While I released the weight of gravity while I dreamt, this night-flyer was showing me the beautiful blind dance of trust in my waking state. And, I realized, when I took the time to be still and let go my fear of being bit, that before me was a gift.

How remarkably beautiful you are I thought as the bat flew a millimeter in front of me in search of an exit. There were moments, many of them, when I had no idea where our visitor was until it soared past on its silent wings. There was even one moment when I was hunched in the hallway as it flew around me when I thought it had landed on me. It wasn’t, I discovered, an unwelcome thought. I had this crazy notion that if I remained calm and still, it would land on me if it chose to, and we would both be okay.

Or was it so crazy? When we choose to dance beyond our fears into that state of stillness and peace, the world has a way of responding in kind. Those zen-like moments you read or hear about, and maybe even have experienced for yourself, are just that. The letting go of what binds us to our bodies and minds and allowing our cells to dance in unity with all that is around us. It is, in essence, like flying without effort. This bat, I realized while it was with us, had been a welcome visitor after all. I was almost sorry when my husband declared after our second attempt at releasing it (we had at one point thought it had exited an open door only to discover after we had settled back onto the couch and our movie that it had not), that he had, in fact, watched it exit the same porch door from which it came from. It’s job here, it seems, was done.


22 thoughts on “We receive the gift of a bat while watching Victoria & Abdul

  1. What a wonderful encounter, Alethea. love bats,finding them both beautiful and fascinating to watch. It reminds me of the time we met the adder basking on the moors (there are so few snakes in Britain that meeting one is a rare occurence). I would have imagined fear… but there was only wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was fascinating. To think it went through a screen that parts like a door, then another open door to visit us seems like a deliberate act and I realized I should probably treat it as a gift. The adder sounds like a similar encounter. Interestingly, that night I dreamt I was with you and the School traveling through the ancient landscapes. I was flying again but with a purpose to solve some sort of mystery.


  2. Suzanne

    Your story of a bat in the house reminds me of an encounter like that I once had. You are right. Bats do bring up some primal fears. Over here some carry a deadly disease but, that aside, there is something about them that awakens primitive responses. Maybe because the memory of bats in caves in written into our DNA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, yes, the cave connection encoded in our DNA…I had not thought of that. And, on a symbolic level ​the cave is the place where we are forced to face our fears. I hope the move is going well. I’ve been enjoying your posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Suzanne

        Thanks Alethea. Yes, the move is going ok. Just tidying up the loose ends and cleaning my old rental this week and will be fully moved by Thursday evening. This is the boring, tiring part. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: We receive the gift of a bat while watching Victoria & Abdul ~ Alethea Kehas | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  4. What a great description! We’ve never had bats, but a few mice and trying to catch them has been a little crazy. We’ve also had birds stuck in our garage, flying around in a panic with no idea how to exit, even though the doors were open. I like how you were able to put yourself in observer mode for a bit. Nature can be pretty amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. We get mice more often than I’d like, as we have two cats and a cat door leading out of the basement. It also welcomes in the occassional snake, frog, chipmunk, bird and flying squirrel, as well as the neighbor’s cats who seem to appear at mealtimes 😉 I do love nature, but generally ​prefer to enjoy its gifts outdoors. 🙂

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  5. Pingback: We receive the gift of a bat while watching Victoria & Abdul – All in a Day's Breath

  6. Reblogged on http://www.allinadaysbreath.wordpress.com. I love this writing, Alethea. Oftentimes I come across creatures that I am a bit afraid of such as black widow spiders outside around my mobile home. One day I killed one of them and my significant other, Richard told me not to kill any spiders. He said they had taken up residence outdoors to help us keep the unwanted bugs down, and I realized how right he is. In India, people respect all life forms and often live with creatures we might fear side by side in their homes. I was thinking how every living form in this world is sacred even when I might feel fearful of it, and quite often justifiably so. But that does not mean that it has no place in this world. It means that I am perhaps in a place where it has chosen for one reason or other to make its abode and to find sufficient food for itself and its young.

    It is true that a bat does not really belong in a home, and it would not likely want to stay there, however it happened to get inside. So perhaps helping it to get back to where it is most comfortable is the best thing to do. I used to carry out all the spiders I found inside my home (and I never once found a black widow spider or other poisonous spider) outside to where I thought they would be safe and in a better place. Then one day I realized that the spiders in the house had taken up residence there because there were insects they could catch, and these spiders did not often build a web; they were often Daddy Long Legs spiders. But they definitely kept our insect population down.

    We live in a truly amazing world, don’t we? I often think how people are not only intolerant of creatures who are not in their space, but whom they see as dangerous. By the same token, people are often intolerant of others who do not look like them in some general way. I hope that the day comes when people will understand that if others were not meant to be in this planet, they would not have been placed here. Whoever or whatever brought us all to this place seems to know what they were doing. Thanks for this great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anne for your wonderful commentary. You have such a wonderful heart and it is always a joy to read about your passion for making the world a better place. ❤ p.s. Thank you for sharing my post on your blog. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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