Today’s Random Word is: zipline
It was dusk and Gloria’s first camping experience was about to get ‘real’.
As I sat beside the campfire, the last pink wisps of light slipped beyond the distant hills. Gloria had been a ‘good sport’ all day. She’d helped carry firewood from the neatly stacked pile even though I warned her to watch for snakes beneath the tarp before she reached in. After a shudder, she asked me to look first and trusted my “all clear” prompt enough to help. Everything I took for granted she found foreign and frightening, yet she persevered.
The evening was warm, and still, so mosquitos lifted from the damp woods on either side of our open area. After lathering herself with bug repellent and dressing up in sweats, boots, and a broadbrimmed hat, Gloria plopped into the folding chair beside me.
She grinned as I handed her a coffee, “This isn’t so bad. I think I could get used to this ‘nature stuff’.”
Out of nowhere, several shadows dipped through the clearing as if on a zipline from one side to the other. Gloria froze until one came close enough to knock off her hat!
The screech she released must have been heard in the next county. Then she rose waving her arms, spilling her coffee in her lap and raced for the tent.
“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!”, she howled from her ‘bunker’.
With coffee spilling from my nose because of my unrestrainable laughter, I could only squeak, “A bat.”
“A bat?! Those things are DANGEROUS! I’ll get rabies then you won’t be laughing!”
Once I was able to compose myself. I crawled into the tent and explained a few things about the truth of bats. I told her that they were just feeding on the bugs and were expert flyers. That they weren’t attacking her, and she wouldn’t get rabies.
It took a while, but Gloria came back to the campfire. She sat slumped (trying not to be a target) and watched the fine aerobatics of the bats with her mouth agape.
After we returned from our adventure, Gloria researched bats and became an advocate for them telling anyone who’d listen about them.
She started our trip as a ‘good sport’ and ended it as a ‘Good Samaritan’.
Here’s more on bats. They’re terribly misunderstood and fascinating, helpful, creatures.