I had the opportunity to see a bat again tonight. Of all nights, I know. It’s been several years. I think the suburban disease has taken its toll of the local bat populations here in the Los Angeles area. I imagine increased use of insecticides coupled with several very dry years (insects breed where water just sits) are the major culprits. I’ve never heard of any organized movement to reduce the bat population.
I really like bats; I’ve always felt more kinship to mammals than to birds, in no small part to the fact that I’m active at night. The fact that bats can take to the air like birds, but at night (yes, like owls, I guess–stop interrupting!), certainly sparked my imagination. I used to build bat boxes, shoebox-sized bat homes, and hang them under the eaves of my home. When a number of larger trees in the neighborhood were cut down the owls and bats went elsewhere.
Ted Andrews includes Bat in his dictionary of animals. It reads like an interpretation of The Tower card, which is curious since he likens Bat to The Hanged Man. Basically, the depth of his analysis reads a bit shallow. I have no problem with Andrews’ work, or at least the parts that make the reader work, but I find the dictionaries tedious. This is especially the case when my relationship with spirits (or mental constructs) involving animal guises bear altogether different fruit than what Andrews predicts.
I’ve worked with Bat (in a totemic sense for the sake of simplicity here) for many years. I’m an insomniac, which is weird since I’m an avid and competent lucid dreamer. I just have trouble turning off all the programs running in my head that get started throughout the day. Working with Bat I’ve managed to curb what could have amounted to a chronic problem to a more manageable issue without the use of pills.
Wiki tells me a thousand bats can consume four tons of insects a year. That’s a lot of night time work and that information has been helpful in handling a lot of lying-in-bed-wide-awake-can’t-sleep-why-god!-why-is-it-so-late-already!? episodes I’ve had over the years. I imagine that the random thoughts, worries, stresses, images, and other unwanted mental trespassers are insects buzzing around in my head. Annoying little pests making annoying little sounds while I’m trying to get a good night’s sleep. So I call on my friend Bat to bring his colony and clean house if you will.
So, bats in my belfry actually help keep me sane.