Double Original Friday – Black Star

Black StarRight before Halloween, Ms. Kerfe Roig of MethodTwoMadness posted a beautiful drawing of a bat and wrote about the precarious conservation state of most bat species (check it out here!). Many years ago, I attended a presentation by a scientist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where he detailed the efforts to find the origin of White Nose Syndrome in bats. White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that is decimating bat populations in the eastern U.S. It turned out that a hiker in New England – not a scientist or a Forest Service employee – provided the photograph of the bat that had been identified as “patient zero” of the epidemic. I have always been struck by that fact – that any one of us could be the singular witness to an important ecological event and that what we see and remember is so significant. Today’s poem and illustration are inspired by the memory of the bats I would see as a child and Kerfe’s post. Poem, drawing, and mixed media collage by me. Have a great Friday!

11 comments

  1. You have perfectly captured the bittersweet happiness I feel every time I see a bat fly overhead now — because it is almost always only *one*. I have a vivid memory of being out at my uncle and aunt’s farm, standing in a special spot beside their house so I could watch the *hundreds* of bats (it seemed like even more) stream out from under their roof for a night of hunting. A disturbing notion indeed, to be that witness.

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    1. Thank you, Sunshine! I have a similar memory from childhood: my grandparents had a cabin in the mountains and in the summer we would stand on a nearby boat dock and watch hundreds of bats emerge from the woods and tumble through the air over the lake. Now I see one or two when out camping, if that. This memory now mixes with the one of sitting in a darkened amphitheater as that U.S.F.W scientist showed us a hiker’s photo, date stamped in red in the corner, of a small brown bat clinging to a cave wall, its face covered in white fungus…

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  2. That is a really great poem – striking images and beautifully crafted language. Of course, the drawing is amazing also – you are a really skilled draftsman. I love the way the poem relates to the drawing – I thought of “We are stardust”. Great post.

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