Thursday, September 10, 2009

Probable Pippistrelle

A furry stranger arrived in our garden this evening; he was found clinging upside down to a shrub. We watched as he began to scramble from twig to twig. Now and then, he would flutter a couple of feet, but couldn't quite get into the air.

Pipistrellis pipistrellis

A quick look at the small ears and nose and some leafing through my wildlife guides, I had him down as a Pippistrelle (Latin for "I squeak" - and I can confirm first-hand that they do). These little guys eat maybe two or three thousand insects in their nightly four-hour hunts, finding their prey with FM sonar - catching a fresh victim as often as every 4 seconds.

The trailing edge of his last wing seemed a little damaged; I took him from our cat-haunted garden, and left him hanging upside-down (the right way up, for a bat) from a tree.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Together, harmony

Sitting at the piano, tinkering with the motifs and fragments that might one day gel into a soundtrack, I rattle through variation after variation, evolving note by note the music I will need to accompany the landscapes playing in my memory's screening room. As a freezing desert and a distant mountain range float before my eyes, I search higher into the treble, trying for the phrases that will wrap the chill of distant glaciers around my viewer's skin.

Suddenly, an unexpected chord lifts me from the frozen wastes and drops me back in a cosy sitting room, where a warm weight, 11 kilos or so, rests on my lap; the chord sounds again, and I look down at the keys past a huge mop of blonde hair. Two chubby little index fingers descend again, and the chord rises for the third time. Then, a really gappy imitation of a scale... two huge blue eyes look up at Dad, and a huge gappy smile rewards my applause. 13 months old!

p.s. I love being a Dad