Monday, September 13, 2010

Two Miracles in One Night - The Personal Strength of Awareness

Not long ago, my conscious awareness was powerfully focused "in the moment" twice in one evening.

Kathleen and I were visiting the area of the Texas Hill Country about 35 miles west of San Antonio, near Comfort and Fredericksburg. Friday at sunset we were sitting in a small viewing area at the Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area, where we were told that about 3 million Brazilian free-tailed bats would emerge at dusk.

They spend their days hanging from the ceiling of an abandoned railroad tunnel. Our guide said that typically 200 bats occupy one square foot of space. She also said that this was peak season for bat emergence viewing because summer breeding was over, and the pups would be emerging along with their parents.

Having never seen anything like this before, I didn't know what to expect. As the sky began to darken, I saw a few bats dart out, then dozens, then hundreds. Suddenly, more than 50,000 bats per minute were rocketing out of the tunnel, a torrential flow that lasted about forty-five minutes. The sound of the beating of so many wings was an audible roar.

Amazingly, the flow ran into the end of the clearing, where the bats spiraled counter-clockwise into a tornado of hundreds of thousands of bats slowly rising high enough to clear the trees and fly away.

Our guide said that before they returned at dawn the bats would consume about 50,000 pounds of insects. I'll bet the local farmers are saving a bundle by not having to pay for insecticide!

For me it was an unprecedented, this-worldly spiritual experience. It's a strange thing to feel a sustained sense of amazement for more than half an hour.

Back at our cottage, we stood on the back porch to watch the stars. It was a clear, moonless night, and we were many miles from the nearest town. I've never seen the Milky Way so clear. I'm now living the final third of my life, but this was the first time I've seen stars twinkling so vividly. They seemed so close I could reach out and touch them.

Nature is that way. Whether the miracle is something going on here on the surface of our planet or it's something happening untold light-years away, if you can stop your thoughts long enough to simply see it for what it is, it will leave you speechless.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength . (Photo by Nyta Brown, courtesy of Old Tunnel WMA)


Kathleen Scott said...

It really was that amazing, the sight and sound and feel of the wind of bats.

And later the beauty of light in the night.

And all we had to do was show up for the miracle. said...

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