On April 12, 2007, Ian and I put the long-overdue finishing touches on a construction project—a four-chambered, nursery-colony-size bat house. Getting that behemoth installed required at least three trips to the hardware store and as many attempts to locate a hammer drill. But it was finally mounted on the side of our brick house, thanks to many hours of sweating and relentless good-naturedness on the part of Ian, one of whose least favorite things is standing on a ladder. Once it was done, every pore in my body celebrated. Little did I know, my pores hadn't seen nuthin' yet.
On June 15, we were cleaning out our crawl space and Ian asked if I'd checked in the bat house lately. I said no, that I was wearing out the flashlight batteries peering up into it. A few minutes later I heard him exclaim, "There's a bat in the bat house!" I didn't believe him at first—it can take years for bats to find and approve of your lovingly crafted lodging. I thought Ian was teasing me. But sure enough, a single bat was dozing inside. I turned off the light quickly so as not to disturb it. Since it was near dusk, about 8 o'clock, we decided to sit back and wait for it to emerge. Emerge it did, and the next day we found it back inside. Unfortunately, it spent only 2 days, then moved on. But throughout the summer, we observed bats flying nearby, diving and zigzagging in their hunt for insect meals. During those times, when I sat on the stoop watching the show in the waning light, I often thought to myself: 'If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.'