Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Austin Journal: The Bat Cave

photograph by Hallie Cohen
There is a bat cave under the Congress Avenue Bridge which runs over Lady Bird Lake in Austin. On a summer’s night crowds wait at dusk along the banks of the river, as a few remaining kayaks and paddle boats make their way downstream. In the distance are the Hyatt, Radisson and Four Seasons Hotels which loom over Gotham. When the sun sets just enough and the light is right, the bats emerge to the cheers of the throngs and they keep
coming. The amount of bats that have been hibernating is what's so astonishing. It’s not hundreds but thousands and they fill the sky like biblical locusts. There's a strange sense of familiarity, almost déjà vu that you feel even if you have not seen the dark explosion which fills air and there’s a desire to call out the names of your favorite superheroes or Hollywood stars who played them (like Michael Keaton as Batman/Bruce Wayne). But what's even more telling is the collective sense of awe created by the almost unimaginable and seemingly unending outpouring of creatures all liberated at once by the coming of night. The crowds of spectators exploding with cheers at the appearance of the bats is something like a standing ovation at a great theatrical or operatic event.

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