Last night I got up to let our dog out around 3 a.m. I stayed outside for another 15 minutes to catch a few more Perseids (since I was up anyway), and, leaving puppy outside asleep on her bed, went back in and upstairs to bed.
It was then I noticed our two cats acting very oddly. Now, that in and of itself is not really cause for alarm. I mean, they are cats. And it was nighttime. And I had just gone outside in the middle of the night, which, obviously, is a little out of the ordinary. Yes. I’m sure that’s it.
But why are they looking up at the ceiling? AND WHAT IS THAT THING FLITTING AROUND?
In Bridget Jones’ immortal words: GAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
There was a bat flying around the ceiling! WHAT THE WHAT?! How could I have let a bat in without noticing? The patio door was only open for a matter of moments!
*Sidebar: My husband and I absolutely love bats, and spend a lot of time watching them at dusk. We plan to install a bat house in our yard. We used to go to Custer State Park’s annual BatFest in August. We’ve even used bat detectors to listen to their echolocation ultrasound signals. It’s pretty cool.
That being said, I can’t think of too many batophiles who love them enough to want one flying around inside their house at 3 a.m. Or any other time, for that matter.
Being who I am, I immediately freaked out, shrieking, “Oh shit! Shit! SHIT! There’s a BAT in the house! THERE’S A BAT IN THE HOUSE! SHIT! SHIT!” Upon which, my husband woke up and said, “There is not.” To which I (of course) replied, “YES THERE IS!” More expletives, more hyperventilating, etc. etc.
Said husband then leaped out of bed to see for himself, and I had to suggest that it might be prudent to meet our new winged indoor/outdoor pet wearing something more than his birthday suit.
I wish I could report that I was the cool, calm, collected one in this scenario. I was not. Despite my above-mentioned love for these tiny, furry, flying predators, I continued to swear, hyperventilate, and ask repeatedly, “How do we get it out? How do we get it out? HOW DO WE GET IT OUT?”
Brilliant, loving, husband. Smart, thoughtful, mechanical engineer husband. Johnny-on-the-freaking-spot husband. Though his initial, very short-lived idea was to try and trap it with a laundry basket (?), he had a more realistic procedure in place within moments.
Step 1: Shut cats in bedroom.
Step 2: Try to calm wife.
Step 3: Kennel dog.
Step 4: Turn off indoor lights.
Step 5: Turn on outdoor lights.
Step 6: Open front door and patio doors.
Step 7: Wait for bat to fly out of house.
Step 8: Reassure wife that plan would work.
Not surprisingly, husband’s cooler head prevailed, and within five minutes, the bat had flown out the patio door, and we quickly closed the doors and turned off the outdoor lights. HURRAY FOR HUSBAND! NO MORE BAT IN HOUSE!
It was 3:45, give or take, by the time we made our way back to bed. Not surprisingly, I couldn’t go back to sleep. (The extra-loud, intrusive sounds coming from the nearby train yard were only part of the reason.)
Why had a bat flown into the house? Why was I the one who let it in? What could this possibly mean? Was it a sign? Was I meant to learn something from our new little friend?
This morning I consulted Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson (St. Martin’s Press, 1999).
According to them, Bat symbolizes powerful shamanistic juju:
Steeped in the mystery of Mesoamerican tribal ritual is the legend of Bat. Akin to the ancient Buddhist belief in reincarnation, in Central America, Bat is the symbol of rebirth. The Bat has for centuries been a treasured medicine of the Aztec, Toltec, Tolucan, and Mayan peoples.
. . . Hanging upside-down is a symbol for learning to transpose your former self into a newborn being. This is also the position that babies assume when they enter the world from the womb of woman.
If Bat has appeared in your cards today [read “in your house last night”], it symbolizes the need for a ritualistic death of some way of life that no longer suits your new growth pattern. This can mean a time of letting go of old habits, and of assuming the position in life that prepares your for rebirth, or in some cases initiation. In every case, Bat signals rebirth of some part of yourself or the death of old patterns. If you resist your destiny, it can be a long, drawn out, or painful death. The universe is always asking you to grow and become your future. To do so you must die the shaman’s death.
Way cool, right? I believe that everything happens for a reason and that I can learn something from everything all the time.
So, here’s my step-by-step retrospective on the events of the past few days:
Step 1: I receive e-mail informing me someone else has been offered a job for which I assumed I was a shoo-in.
Step 2: I overreact; vent to family, husband, friends–basically anyone who will listen.
Step 3: I decide to start a blog–a new creative outlet for all the silly, deep, random, questioning thoughts flying around in my head.
Step 4: Bat flies into house at 3 a.m., flitting about the ceiling in a manner similar to said thoughts flying around in my head.
Step 5: I discover symbolic meaning of Bat in my house at 3 a.m.
I love when the Universe speaks to me in a way that cannot be ignored.
Bat photo courtesy Discovery magazine online.