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What is a bat but a mouse with wings?

Prices last updated c. 1967
When you're sleeping alone in a cabin, one of the last things you want to hear is the sound of flapping overhead. In the millisecond before I turned on the light, I hoped it was a very big moth. It was not. I flipped on the light and discovered a bat, frantically circling the ceiling above my bed.

I was staying at Swanee Shores, which was my grandparents' fishing resort in the 1960s. It hasn't operated as a resort for decades, but it's still in the family. There are four cabins, a main house, and what we call the Store, which was a 3.2 bar back in the day. My mom still talks about how my grandpa was an early adopter of potato-chip dip, which he made available to customers and guests. But I loved the shelves of Chef-Boy-ardee, which he kept in stock years after the resort had closed to guests.

I digress. Back to Cabin 3, at 3 a.m. Panic set in as I realized it was not a giant moth, but a freaked-out bat. I grabbed my handheld communication device from the bedside table and went out to the porch. I didn't know what else to do but google a solution, which brought me to a DNR site that said I should turn on the light in the room and open a window, which would allow the bat to fly out into the darkness. I checked the porch window and it was already open. Since the porch has all sorts of cracks and crevices that would allow a bat to enter it, I deduced that the bat had found its way onto the porch and then into the cabin. I cursed the previous resident for leaving the window open, even though he is a very nice person.

I re-entered the Bat Cabin to turn on the ceiling light. I opened the window even more, and pulled back the curtains so they wouldn't impede the bat's flight path. Then I sat in the rocking chair on the porch and watched the window. I'd stay until I saw him fly on to the porch, then I'd run back into the cabin, slam the window closed, and sleep until 10 a.m.

The flapping continued. I updated my facebook status. I googled the animal symbolism of bats. The bat's appearance could be a sign of rebirth, the impending transformation of the ego-self. Bats are keenly aware of their surroundings, and very sensitive. Perhaps the bat was my new totem. Certainly I felt keenly aware of my surroundings. But my eyes felt so heavy. The idea of transforming my ego-self was simply exhausting. Maybe I'd feel more up to it after a nap.

I walked down to the Store where other family members were sleeping. I lay down on the couch in the main room and closed my eyes. A few minutes later, from behind the bar, I heard the unmistakable sound of a mouse chewing. What is a bat but a mouse with wings? At least the bat was panicked, flapping, trying to get out of my space. This mouse lived here, at least until daylight when I would set out traps. I returned to Cabin 3. The bat was gone. I closed the window but left the lights on. I slept, but not well, and certainly not until 10 a.m.

In the year since the bat visit, I can't say whether I've been reborn, or whether my ego-self has been transformed. But I got the message, Mr. Bat, whatever it was. No need to return.
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