Photo Courtesy of Nyta Brown and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
If you're not there when the miracle happens, you won't see it.
Last weekend, we were. There, at the Old Tunnel near Comfort, only feet from the ravine. When 3,000,000+ Mexican free-tailed bats streamed into the night.
As the air cooled near sunset, a few bats rocketed from the black-hole mouth of the tunnel. Then hundreds and thousands, until suddenly fifty thousand bats a minute streaked by in a grayish blur, wings sweeping a bat-scented breeze with a whisper-roar of flapping.
Reaching the edge of the forest, they whirled in circles until the flow became a column rising like a living tornado above and beyond the trees into the darkening sky.
The spectacle lasted more than half an hour.
Walking back up the trail, we felt light, as if our minds and hearts flew too.
You can see this miracle also. Just make the easy pilgrimage to Old Tunnel before the end of October, when the bats return to Mexico. Or hope the future is kind and plan for next year, May-October.
PS No one knows when the bats began roosting in the tunnel. But they eat fifty thousand pounds of insects a night and local farmers hope they prosper. As do we.
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.