Magic of the Everyday, Nature, Writing

The Moon and the Sun…and Bats in between.

We managed to catch the lunar eclipse earlier this week. It was spectacular! Just as the moon sank towards the horizon, and as it was brightening in the east for pre-dawn, the full moon turned a dusky red that was eerily beautiful. Unfortunately, the treeline obscured the retreating eclipse so that’s all we saw. But it was worth getting up a bit early to see this. I don’t have any pics, but I’ll direct you here, where there are gorgeous images aplenty.

In North America, there’s also an upcoming partial solar eclipse later this month, on October 23. Where I’m living, it won’t be much at all, so I doubt I’ll bother “eclipse watching”–especially since I’d have to order special protective glasses for this (and so should you, if you’re going to watch it! Just saying…). But many of you live in places with a bigger slice of the sun being darkened, so you might want to check it out. More info here, at

Other news? I didn’t get a story finished over the weekend–really, what was I thinking? Hope springs eternal and all that, but really! Still, I came hope sleep-deprived and happy. And I’ve dived into the last section of the novel with gusto. I am so psyched to be at this point at last.

Last night hubby-dearest and I drove to the UF bat house and bat barn just before sunset. The area around the structures is fenced off to keep gawkers from disturbing the resting bats. Even so, the stench of bat guano is overpowering. It was burning my eyes by the time we left, and it took a long while to clear the searing smell from my poor, overwhelmed nose. But it was so worth it.

At 20 minutes after sunset. A bat flew out the bottom. Then another. This continued for a minute, with one or two bats exiting every few seconds. “Eh, exciting-NOT!” was my thought.

And then…BOOM! Like someone pulled a trigger, hundreds–thousands–of bats came pouring out the bottom of the bat house, and in a stream they circled to the pines, then right above the watchers under some oak trees. You could see their wingtips just barely not brushing the leaves of the tree, even as the leaves began to shimmer and flutter in the gusts made by their passage. They quite literally “darkened the sky.”  They flew in a stream, like migrating birds will do, swooping and uplifting en masse, until somewhere, somehow, they spun off on their own. And they kept coming, and coming. It seemed impossible that so many bats could be inside that one structure. (The estimated population of both structures is 300,000. The estimated capacity is 750,000.)

Then the other structure started evacuating bats. Same thing: a huge stream of tiny bats. They streaked overhead, intent on filling their bellies with bugs. It was quite giddy-making!

Oh, and finally: not only did my fish have babies, but one of the earlier baby fish had babies! (I know this because two females were separated out and put into an outdoor fountain to eat mosquito larva–and now there are babies in there.) Words of advice: DO NOT BUY SWORDTAILS for your SMALL aquarium. If you do, you may want to consider piranha, as well.