…exactly one month until my last day at CAVE. I’d like to share a couple of noteworthy experiences I had yesterday.
I went to bat flight yesterday, the third time I’ve done so since the rumors started. This time, I had the amphitheater to myself. Quiet and cold, I sat, taking in the scene. I watched a sphinx moth feeding on the honey-scented algerita blossoms. I listened to a number of different birds hopping about, the distinctive canyon wren call, the last vestiges of cave swallows. I spotted a ringtail lurking above the entrance and was surprised by the bulk of a raccoon ambling up the trail. And then, the rushing brook of wings. Hundreds of bats, thin and steady, small puffs and clusters. Just me and the silence and the bats. I smelled the musk and watched for as long as I could bear the chill. Magic, as usual.
The foremost lesson I’ve learned from my time here is a lesson in silence. Relishing the quiet, observing the world about me and visitors alike. I’ve been practicing my lurking skills lately, creeping up on visitors in the cave, listening to their reactions. I’ve been practicing my lurking skills in my iSWOOP program, picking up on and responding to cues. I was involved in an interesting iSWOOP yesterday. Three adult junior rangers I baited with promises of a signature and two zookeepers, one a wildlife biologist who has engaged in bat research and used thermal technology in porcupine studies (!). At one point, I just stepped back and asked her to talk about her interactions with bats. She talked about bat netting and counting, I talked about Louise’s research presentation, everyone interacted and shared and enjoyed the videos and pictures. We even had an extensive final discussion about technology’s place in the parks.
A magic moment, a learning conversation… a good day.