evenings we sat out late with friends at the picnic table and at dusk the bats appeared.
startling and a little frightening, they'd fly right towards you and then
without slowing down
or around you.
we learned not to freak out
they ate the mosquitos, and
they were our bats after all.
sometimes the children danced around as the bats swooped.
bats sleep more than any other mammal, so soon it was dark and they were gone to roost. we never knew where ours lived, never saw them come out of some hole or tree.
we assumed they lived in the old barn two houses up, or maybe even in our garage, altho we never saw one there.
one summer a single lone bat lived in the eaves of our back porch and we had to sweep bat shit off the chairs every day.
probably a male, as we read that they live alone, but we called it Nora Batty after the tv character.
each year we had fewer bats it seemed, until we hit six.
in spring we watch for them and count.
they held steady for a few years
against white nose fungus and upgrading of houses,
but this year
there are none.
the empty dusk feels lonely.