The title is deceptive because I’m doing no such thing. Like everyone else who begins the summer thinking it’s actually going to be a ‘break,’ I’m being swiftly disillusioned by the hectic, flyby nature of July. So much to do, so little motivation. I’ll be brief about a couple of things I learned last week so you, too, can get back to running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
Remember that teensy-weensy rant I made about the bats with white-nose syndrome? Well, I retract the harsh words I used. Okay, I didn’t use any harsh words; and I didn’t rant on the bats but, rather, the practice of erecting metal gates to keep people out of the caves.
Last Monday, my family and I were at the mouth of Sauta (a.k.a. Blowing Wind) Cave at dusk to watch the exit of the largest known summer population of gray bats in the Southeast. While we waited for the sun to go down, our guide discussed what the endangered gray bats would face should white-nose syndrome be introduced into their colonies. The illness spreads rapidly with a bat mortality rate of 95%. Ninety-five percent! The first cases of WNS were documented in New York, and the steel bars at cave entrances are the only means researchers have come up with to hamper the spread of white-nose syndrome in various bat species. No one seems to have a clue how to manage the illness or the bats that contract WNS.
Can you tell I’m feeling a little more forgiving about the barriers that keep me out of the caves now? Amazing what a little knowledge can do. One more thing I learned about bats: It is not their natural practice to swoop out of a cave en masse. That’s only if you scare them. They stagger their exits, circling around for a bit and winging away. At least the gray bats do.
Now, on the 4th I learned that if I allow my son to attempt to steer me down a small river in a kayak, there is an 100% possibility that the kayak will flip over; and I will come close to losing my sandals, my lunch bag, and the oars. And there’s the same probability that I will shriek and thrash around like the crazy woman I am for a good ten minutes before I realize, yes, I can stand up in the water.
Have a happy rest of the week!