By Theodore Roethke
By day the bat is cousin to the mouse.
He likes the attic of an aging house.
His fingers make a hat about his head.
His pulse beat is so slow we think him dead.
He loops in crazy figures half the night
Among the trees that face the corner light.
But when he brushes up against a screen,
We are afraid of what our eyes have seen:
For something is amiss or out of place
When mice with wings can wear a human face.
dementordelta came to visit so we could go see bats in Baltimore! First I took her (along with Adam) to see the baby bird, who is flying a bit around Rose's place but still refusing to eat on his own. His tail feather is growing, so hopefully he'll get a better sense of balance and start eating some of his fruit and seeds and insect bits. Paul made us pancakes, eggs, and sausage for brunch, then we drove to the Maryland Science Center (in the pouring rain) which was having Backyard Science Days, meaning they had live animal demonstrations including Bat Encounters with Rob Mies. He had brought four bats whom my family had met before -- a local big brown bat, an African bat, a golden bat and a flying fox. We also went to see the science center's own animal show, with a terrapin, salamander, snake, and ferret, and visited the dinosaurs, blue crabs, and other exhibits.
This is Radar, a big brown bat, though "big" in this case means about three inches long. She gets to eat mealworms onstage; it amuses me that some kids who are not afraid of bats are afraid of mealworms.
Kamilia the Malayian flying fox shares a perch with Coco the golden bat. Mies says Coco likes to snuggle but Kamilia doesn't always put up with it.
Kids get to touch a Maryland terrapin who lives in the upstairs tank at the science center.
This ferret lives behind the scenes at the museum and comes out on a leash to greet visitors.
This corn snake's name is Walter. He too lives behind the scenes and comes out for animal encounters.
The Savannah monitor lives in the dinosaur exhibit, since like many dinosaurs it is a carnivorous reptile with a strong bite, powerful jaws, and a thick hide.
And here are myself, Delta, and Adam admiring our reflections in a big soap bubble.
It rained pretty much the entire day, so we didn't walk around the harbor at all, but we did go to the Van Gogh: Brush With Genius IMAX movie which we'd wanted to see since we watched Van Gogh: Painted With Words. It was a bit more dry than the latter but it had gorgeous footage of Paris and the south of France as well as close-ups of Van Gogh's paintings, drawings and letters on that enormous screen. We came home for dinner, sent Delta on her way, and watched A Fish Called Wanda which had come up in conversation somehow the other day and we knew the kids would like it (and were now old enough to appreciate it). It is as politically incorrect as ever, but I can't take any of it seriously so it still makes me howl. And Kevin Kline is brilliant. "Don't call me stupid!"