Bats have been associated with demons for centuries. Stories about Lucifer and Dracula have frightened many children, instilling in them at a very young age that bats are representatives of Hell that prey upon humans at night by sucking their blood.
Scholars who study folklore say that we may be uncomfortable around bats because they have features and behaviors that are strikingly similar to humans. In science, they are classified as mammals, like us, with nipples and fur. Their wing bones, structurally, are exactly the same as human hands. Their faces even look like ours, with eyes, ears, and noses in just the right places, even if they are bizarrely shaped in contrast. To many people, bats look like frightening versions of us, and we depict them that way in illustrations.
Further, most bats are adapted to life at night, and we see them rise out of caves hidden within the earth just as the sun sets. They fly up from the place we bury our dead at the moment when we are facing our biggest vulnerability.
In truth, a very small set of vampire bats do lap tiny amounts of blood from nicks they make in the skin of livestock such as birds, cattle and goats.
Whatever the source of our fear and mistrust, it does not represent the reality of bats.
Nevertheless is the color of pulsing blood, a reminder or our kinship with each other and our fragile bond with bats and other animals in the intricate web of life. Beyond the instrumental value of bats in silently preventing millions of mosquito-related deaths, pollinating the plants we depend on and enjoy, and protecting our harvests, there is an intrinsic value beyond reckoning.
Nevertheless is based on the interlude sung by Milton Nascimento in Paul Simon's song Spirit Voices, and contains text from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman - Leaves of Grass
Excerpt from Song of Myself - 52
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds, It coaxes me to the vapor and the
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun, I effuse my flesh in eddies, and
drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean, But I shall be good health to you nevertheless, And
filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged, Missing me one place search another, I stop
somewhere waiting for you
Milton Nascimento's Interlude in Spirit Voices
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