TV, Vampires, and the Lost Baby

It’s early. I’ve just finished breakfast and I’m sitting on my balcony in that semi-dream state induced by a full tummy and tropical warmth. I’m startled out of my reverie by a distinctly surprised British accent echoing up from below. “What’s this black thing on the sidewalk?!” My curiosity piqued, I peer down and see my neighbor bent over looking at a small dark spot. Ketut joins her. In the next breath I hear the proclamation, “It’s a baby bat!” I race out my door, down the steps and, sure enough, the little guy is too young to fly but he is flopping about on the walk surrounded by enormous humans.

As we tower over the infant a discussion ensues. Where did he come from? I suddenly remember this morning seeing a woman with a knife enter the thick growth three feet from the path. An intense rustling and shaking of leaves ensued and I saw her exit the thicket with several large banana leaves. I report these facts to my friends. Now it makes sense to Ketut who explains that bats live and nest in the deep conical recesses formed by the huge leaves. “Woman cut banana leaf for ceremony, bat fall out,” he says.

We continue to fawn over the grotesque creature. What is it about babies? I hate bats. I don’t know if its tales of vampires or having my head dive-bombed by those shadowy specters after dark, but I have an extreme illogical fear of them. And yet, looking at that tiny, defenseless blob, struggling to fly on immature wings, terrified, I feel something almost like love. Perhaps it’s a semi-dormant maternal instinct kicking in. Ketut evidently feels it too. He disappears for a moment and returns with a piece of banana. Scooping up the struggling creature on a leaf, he offers the treat to a mouth that, for a baby, already displays an impressive array of razor sharp fangs. The bat doesn’t eat and eventually our interest wanes, but not before he is secured on a vine-covered rock under a makeshift banana leaf shelter.

Imagine a place where the business of living each day provides more entertainment than hours of canned programming. Imagine if you will, actually being involved in the unfolding stories, not as an observer, but as a participant. Imagine a setting where drama is played out without cameras rolling or sound bites recorded, where you don’t need to tune in to experience the pathos of daily existence unfolding before your eyes, where the news is mostly good, but when there is tragedy it is personal and people rally around those who are suffering. Welcome to my world where living requires 100% participation and there’s no time left for TV.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 06:56:28

    I love hearing about your world, and it’s one that I can totally comprehend! oooooh bats, baby or not, give me the creeps….having said that I’d probably be just like you and ‘fawn over the grotesque creature’ if it landed defenceless on the garden path – I’ll let you know as, and if, and when it ever happens! I’m not sure that I’d be so fearless…..:)

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  2. Diane Struble
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 23:36:51

    Hope that your little bat survived. One does not need to be in Bali to rescue the young of any specie in need. Over the years, I have fed baby birds, baby mice, baby squirrels and taken adult bats to the Wildlife Rehab Center more than once. The feeding schedule of every two hours for any infant is indeed exhausting, but you are totally correct in saying that we feel obligated to care for the tiny creatures among us regardless of parentage.

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  3. Barb Garland
    Sep 11, 2012 @ 09:36:50

    Sherry, it reminds me of my childhood, when we used to observe and rescue animals. lots of love

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