Home to roost

The bats at the lake were just getting ready to call it a night.

I was up before dawn drinking coffee and watching as several swooped around on the other side of the screen, catching mosquitoes in the yard. When I went to bed last night, there was a strong breeze. This morning, it was completely still and misty right before the sun peeked over the trees across the river.

The bats live in the attic of the addition my grandparents had built onto the house in the late 60’s when it became clear that the number of grandchildren who wanted to stay overnight had exceeded the number of beds in the house.  In their later years, they slept in the “back bedroom” themselves, often sharing two double beds in the cramped room with a grandchild or two who would lie awake listening to old people snoring in stereo and night sounds on the river, feeling safe and snug.

This morning, at first light, the bats flew back into the attic one by one. I listened to the rustling and scratching above me as they settled in to sleep. The birds began morning songs in the meadow. A cool breeze came through the screen door and I could see silver ripples on the water. It is my favorite time of day here at the cabin in July. That moment when another day begins. It never gets old.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about where creatures tend to roost, and why. Whether it is habit or instinct or convenience. My dearest friend and her husband have recently come home to roost, too. This is good. It feels natural to grow older with the people who knew you when you were young. People who loved your parents and remember your grandparents. It closes up the circle in profound and simple ways.

The bats in the attic only know that they have found a warm, safe, place to roost. That’s all they need to know.  It’s good to know where you feel snug.

Maybe we are not so very different.


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