There are wild places that can be the most serene environments to visit, where we can see the diversity and beauty of the natural world. This is a privilege that can remind us of our place in the fabric of the natural order. There are also events like hurricanes, wildfires, and tornadoes, which is nature at its wildest. Our earth is a connected fabric of life, interdependent, a product of a long evolutionary process.
Bats, the animals that weave the night sky in a chaotic flight, are, for me, the epitome of the wildness of nature. They twist and turn and seem to somersault in an effort to catch moths and other insects that come out in the night. At dusk, one can watch as bats bug surf over a flat pond at dusk scooping up mosquitoes. Their ever-changing forms recall the Greek myths in which mortals turn into bats or stags, spiders, and trees, magically changed by the power of the gods into another body. Ovid’s Metamorphosis recounts a mutation from the ordinary into an experience of the supernatural. I experience bats as being on this edge. And it is true that we are often less comfortable at night in the dark when images become indistinct and boundaries between reality and misinterpretation can happen. Bats appear at dusk when objects can become distorted, and we have sometimes disoriented ourselves; however, they were for native Americans symbols of transformation, a belief that seems more in tune with the place of bats in nature than the western association of bats with the devil. We ourselves live in a continuum of changing forms and shifting narratives, a transient and natural disorder that suggests that we might loosen our grip on fixed paradigms and spend time in the untamed natural world.