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  • As we walked down Silk Creek, the water cold and the sun hot, I saw something fluttering spasmodically in the trees, just below a leafy beech branch, dark and somehow at odds to the bright day. I altered my course toward the edge of the creek, headed for the odd jerky motion. In a few moments, it resolved itself into a bat. But why was it behaving so strangely?

    I had to get another ten feet closer before I realized it was somehow entangled. Nearer yet, and I saw it was on a fishline.

    The bat had gone for a fishing fly that had been tangled in the branches, cut off, and left there. The hook was caught in its mouth. And even as I watched, I saw that the bat was weakening from its struggles. It had probably already been struggling for a number of hours, since they tend to feed during the crepuscular hours, long gone now in mid-afternoon.
  • I gently wrapped my hand around the bat to restrain it from struggling and cut the transparent fishline. Scott walked back to his house to get some tools, a small needle-nosed pliers, wirecutters and other things we might need. I sat on a rock with my feet in the creek and waited with Keith until Scott returned. Then, I cut the barb off the hook and extracted the hook from the mouth of the bat.
  • We climbed up the steep side of the ravine and I placed the bat on a tree. It seemed stunned and weak, and I worried about its survival, but when we returned to check on it, it was gone. I hope it flew off to a safer place and was able to rest, revive, and survive after its trauma, trauma caused by a thoughtless fisherman.
  • This is a sprout from "the bat story" by Sierra Mitchell. It is dedicated to Scott Carter and the Silk Creek Retreat.


    1. Silk Creek in Early Autumn, by me

    2. Bat on a string--looks like toy, but it is a struggling and suffering live animal. Photo by Keith.

    3. Extracting the hook, photo by Keith.

    4. The bat, released to a tree. Sorry about the poor quality of the photo, but by the time we'd accomplished the hopeful rescue, it had gotten quite dark.

    Note #1: In case you aren't familiar with the term, crepuscular is the time between day and night, when it is dusky with half-light.

    Note #2: Silk Creek is our "secret" or "pet" name for Skaneateles Creek which runs out of Skaneateles Lake, one of the finger lakes in Central New York, carved out by the glaciers. Skaneateles Lake is deep and cold, which keeps the water of the creek cold all summer.

    Today I am fasting.

    Tomorrow I will have surgery. I may not be around for a while. I don't know yet how I will be. They say it is painful and that I may have to be in the hospital several days for pain remediation. (I'm a little nervous and scared. I know I said that. Sorry.)

    Thank you all for your kind wishes for my easy surgery and speedy recovery.

    Mary, June 26, 2013

    Note #3: because I have been told that some people cannot see (or post) photos on Cowbird (sadly--what's with that?), I have taken this same story, prepared here ON COWBIRD (you can tell by the shape of pictures!), and posted it (and them) to my blog, No Polar Coordinates. The pictures there seem to be readily visible for me anyway, but then again, so are the Cowbird pix, usually. If you can't these pix, try clicking on the No Polar link.

    Note #4: I hope I haven't already told this story--I'm beginning to forget what stories I've already told. :-( If so, I apologize.
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