I pondered the motivation for my writing. Annie Dillard said that a writer must ask what they alone can love. In the book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott spoke about self-compassion as a gateway to compassion for others. This opens channels for observation of the world and its events. It triggers the writing process and keeps the writer moving forward.
I asked myself, “What is your passion? What do you love?” In my mind, the soundtrack played George Thorogood singing his classic hit with a similar title.
Always a fan of Blue Highways, I took Highway 41 from Chattanooga to Haletown, a town on the Tennessee River near Nickajack Dam. I contemplated stopping on my way back to watch the bats come out of Nickajack Cave. The cave is home to a large colony of Gray Bats, and I have seen them exit at sunset. Each bat will eat its weight in mosquitoes and other insects each night they emerge.
A biting fly draws blood.
She prepares to lay her eggs.
Gone in the swoop of wings
Wings come forth from the earth.
They swoop and feed all night long
Home with milk for young
Wings of night decline
White fungus disturbs their sleep
Grows upon their nose
White-nose syndrome threatens bats across America. It is a fungus that came from Europe, where bats are immune. Without natural immunity, the bats in our northeastern states succumb to the fungus, which turns their noses white. They come out of hibernation in winter and expend energy intended to keep them alive until spring. With no insects to feed on during their winter flights, they starve. White-nose syndrome has now entered the Southeast and threatens bat colonies here.