Blind as a Bat

A few years ago we bought a bat house to put up. My hubby has a thing about mosquitos and bats supposedly eat 1000 mosquitos per hour. I have since learned this is a myth. They eat insects (among other things) but not to this extent. The bat house is still sitting in my shed. There are too many inappropriate spots on our property to house the fascinating creatures of the night. So the idea of a mosquito-free summer evening got abandoned. However, the last week in October is #batweek, so let’s muse a little on their behalf, shall we?

Ontario Parks recommends bat houses.

There are 17-18 species of bat in Canada (depending on what site you visit). The “little brown bat” is the most common… and likely the one to roust in your attic. Who decided on such a name? Not only do you have to be the most common, did you have to be named as such? Anyway. Bats are weird-looking little things. Big ears, big noses, flappy leathery skinned armed wings, and belly buttons. The only flying mammal. Apparently, they don’t have too many predators either. The odd hawk or eagle will pick off some smaller bats but disease is one of their biggest dangers. Rabies is common, but a fungal infection is their most significant threat. Fungi love close quarters in damp dark areas… and so do bats… so you can see how quickly such threats spread among a population.

Let’s look at the whole “blind as a bat” thing. Bats, in fact, have excellent eyesight. They just happen to hunt at night, so they rely on echolocation in order to enhance their ability to catch prey in the dark.  A study carried out on bat behaviour said that “bat brains have to constantly integrate two streams of data, obtained with two different senses, to construct a single image of the world”. They typically use their eyes to find food during the daytime when it’s light and rely on their hearing and echolocation in the dark. Originally, their erratic flying patterns gave the impression that they didn’t see where they were going. We’ve now learned that the dips and dives are a result of bouncing sound waves here and there in order to navigate their environments. It’s a fun trick we used to play … jingle your car keys around a bat and see their reaction. Apparently, it sounds like bugs to them. Some species actually have advanced vision and can see Ultra Violet. Often, a bat’s vision is even greater than that of its human counterparts. Truly a unique presentation of God’s handiwork!

Mexican Freetail Bats. Flying off into the sunset. 2001-08

Aristotle once said, “For as the eyes of bats are to the blaze of day, so is the reason in our soul to the things which are by nature most evident of all.” (BlindasaBat). Which got me a-thinkin’… What can we learn from these little creatures? We recently had a few big events occur in our neighbourhood. One celebratory and one tragic. Both were far removed from God’s plan for our world. As a Jesus-follower raising a family in a pagan world, I am reminded how easily I become blinded to the darkness around me. I dip and dive around issues appearing to aimlessly snatch out tidbits of “good”. How quickly the fungus of “dark” finds its way in when we stay too hunkered down in our caves.

I need to learn to sharpen all my senses and use discernment whenever I can. Like a bat brain, I need to constantly integrate all the information that I filter through each day and be “in the world but not of it”. It’s hard. It’s tough to present only “One Way” in a politically correct world of constant clicks and echoes. Surround yourselves with others who are like-minded. Bats nest by the thousands! I’ll pray for us both that our vision is clear. Be blessed my little batty beloveds!

The Forest Backdrop

Welcome back! The weather has been so lovely these past few days, that everyone seems to be out enjoying it! One of the benefits we enjoy living in Canada is experiencing four full changes in season! (Remind me that in the dead of winter, okay?) This fall has been absolutely gorgeous, and many people are commenting on how striking the tree colours are. God’s beauty is displayed so vibrantly in such a seemingly mundane object like a tree! We, too, were out enjoying the pleasant weather this weekend, and we saw quite a few people snapping photos of themselves along the trails — the vast forests aflame with colour as their background. I was amiss as a good blogger and didn’t take any photos. However, I marvelled at how this background blended into a solid “hue” all its own. Can you imagine what I mean? Each individual leaf is part of an individual tree, part of a whole forest of trees, set within a forest floor blanketed with fallen leaves. The unique shades and intonations of each individual made up the variation in texture and pattern of the whole. Like those photo montages of maps etc made up of headshots.

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

I came across this devotional thought by Anne Ortlund, recently, which kind of struck a chord with me and this thought of “parts of the whole”:

“Who can explain God? It takes all of Jesus Christ to explain Him. There are hundreds of functions and facets and names of Jesus: The Light, the Ancient of Days, the I Am, Wonderful Counselor, the Light of Isreal, the Branch, the Rock, the Lord, the chief Cornerstone, the Way, the Truth, the Life and on and on and on. He is the express image of God’s Person, but it takes every facet of him to reveal fully the glories of the Godhead.

This is the Christ in whom you’ve been placed. This is the Christ who surrounds you — above you, beneath you, around you, before you, behind you, within you. This is the Christ who is all, and in all. You are complete, ‘running over’ in Him”.

Anne Ortlund

Like the forest backdrop, the attributes of God, are uniquely blended into a vibrant tapestry of all He is and all He is to us. It’s like standing amidst the fallen leaves on the forest floor and trying to pinpoint one red leaf high above you. It can be done, but you miss the beauty of the variation all around you. Try it next time you are doing some “forest bathing” (it’s a thing… look it up). Make a list of all the characteristics or names of God you can think of… and thank Him for the many more you have not yet discovered! Joy, peace and love to you!

The Power of Wind

Last night I watched a blip on the largest offshore wind farm on CBC’s 60 Minutes (Am I old enough to watch 60 Minutes now? Oh the horror!). Anyway, this wind farm is off the coast of London near a town called Grimsby. More than 300 turbines spread across 335 square miles in the open ocean and generate enough electricity to help power more than 2 million homes daily.  The wind is a renewable, clean and powerful source of energy. Literally powerful. The highest wind speed ever recorded occurred on Barrow Island, Australia.  On April 10th, 1996, an unmanned weather station measured a 253 mph wind gust during Tropical Cyclone Olivia.  Beat that, Marvel Comics.

Hornsea Wind Farm Photo credit: CBC 60 minutes

The Mitton crew shared in its own little wind adventure this weekend. Well, at least the two of us did. If you saw my Instagram stories this week (and you should follow my Instagram … it’s my favourite social to post on!) you would have seen a little clip of our beach wind adventure. We visited the shores of Lake Huron on Saturday — and it was just a tad windy. The wind was whipping the sand about and stinging my bare ankles like tiny sharp hypodermic needles. I’m thankful it wasn’t whipping about my face. My hair was doing enough of that, I didn’t need the sand to compete. It wasn’t cold. We experience enough cold winds in Canadian winters to appreciate that. Still, we felt the power of the wind.

We watched a few parasailors take advantage of the weather. Obviously, their wind suits shielded them from the icy water… but I bet they felt the wind! I can’t imagine the strength it took to hold back the sails, because, from our observation, that wind was pulling them in hard. Those little parachutes filled up as soon as they were flung open! Those guys caught some great air that afternoon. Two stories high, I’m sure! Brave, I tell ya.

The hubby loves a good storm, and I watched him run out to the lighthouse pier, only to be caught full-on by a crashing wave on the concrete. He got a little wet. 🙂 He’d make a good storm chaser if I’d let him. I’m just not ready to be left on the yellow brick road all alone just yet. Kudos to the spouses who kiss their lobster fisherman goodbye for to brave the highest seas! (Or pirates, Navy guys or … well, you get it). The wind and waves are a mighty enemy and must be respected at all costs.

Grand Bend, Ontario

I’m sure by now, you see where this post is going. The Bible mentions the power of the wind numerous times. Matthew 8 reminds us that Jesus was in control of the storm. The disciples (many of whom were trained fishermen!) marvelled at His ability to rebuke the waves and calm the storm. The prophets of old were told to watch and observe as the Lord’s presence was seen in the changing weather. Mighty winds, cool breezes, storms, waves and flashes of thunder. The Psalms tell us time and again how God calms the raging storms… literally and figuratively within our own heads. Often we get too bogged down by so many things, that those tiny grains of sand driven by the wind, begin to feel like piercing daggers!

Are you caught in a storm, my friend? Are you feeling the powerful wind whip you down and the waves crash around you? Or have you harnessed the power for your own enjoyment like the parasailors? Do you know the One who controls both the mighty tornado and the gentle breeze? He’s worth every encounter. Seek Him and give Him a little shout-out the next time that little leaf floats down beside you … or when your umbrella blows inside out! For the Lord is not in the wind, but controls it!