Posted by: Shanna Germain | 07/04/2009

Pg. 95: Where The Wild Things Are


Bird skeleton, complete with beak, washed up on the shore.



  • Weather: Alternately sunshiny and gorgeous, followed by thunderstorms.
  • Mileage: Couple.
  • Food: Fresh salmon from the fishmonger. Broccoli from the farmers’ market.
  • Discovery: When the people downstairs wash and spin their clothes, it shakes the entire flat like an earthquake. Only for much longer.
  • Media: Dark Alchemy: Magical Tales from Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
  • Worst Thing: Feeling achy this morning after running around and trying to do too much.
  • Best Thing: A visit to the doctor, who says I’m healing, which means I can go on my planned trip. So, two more days before I hit the road for Edinburgh and then Cologne, Germany.
  • Word of the Day: Outsider. Not me. Rather, it’s the piece of bread that comes from the outside of the loaf, usually thicker and crustier than the rest.


It’s been a week of creatures, great and small. Ticks in the sticks. Slugs on the rugs. Jellies near my wellies. Birds in herds (loud birds — at one point I was on the phone with my dad and he said, “It sounds like you’re in an aviary. All I can hear are birds.”). Midges in… hm, I don’t have a rhyme for that one. Midges biting the crap out of my face and arms, let’s just say that. Or we can do a slant rhyme and say midges on the beaches. My poetry teacher wouldn’t be so proud of that one, though, I don’t think.

Then, the other night, this small shadow in the wee hours of the morning. This small, frantically moving shadow. Around and around the ceiling in a circle. It took me only a few bleary-eyed seconds to realize that a bat had managed to slip in through the window, and then got scared and stuck. Probably it knew that if it kept circling lower, it would find its way out. But, of course, I was in the way. Opening all the windows in the house worked. The bat slipped back outside (hopefully to eat the midges) and I slipped into the kitchen for water.

Only to realize there was a second bat in a frantic frenzy circling around the kitchen. Which needed a little more assistance finding its way out. I’m sure it was only partially confused by the screeching, ducking wild creature with long hair that stood in the doorway.

I should say here that I like bats. Quite a lot. They’re so beautiful (I know, I know… I have odd definitions of beauty). They are truly amazing creatures; the only mammals that are naturally capable of long flights, thanks to the leathery wings that are part of their forearms. (Other mammals can glide, but not actually fly). Plus, they eat midgies. (Although I noticed they chose not to dine on the slugs, unfortunately, and I admit I cursed them out for this, having almost stepped on a slug in the wee hours as it made its way across the bedroom rug).

So, yes, I like bats. But I still did the instinctual duck-and-screech that one is required to do when being accidentally dive-bombed by a scared bat at two in the morning. Which, it goes without saying, did not assist the bat in its attempt to return to the big black sky as opposed to the big white room in which living things yell and flail about.

After the unexpected guests left (by the window, don’t let the counterpane hit you in the butt on the way out), I looked up a bit about Scotland’s bat. It turns out the country plays host to at least eight species of bats (maybe as many as ten or twelve), so I don’t know what kind of bats they were. I’m guessing they weren’t the Daubenton’s bat, which apparently has a mostly white underside. These were black-black, and not terribly big.

I’ve always been a people watcher–I think most writers are–but here I’ve become a wild thing watcher too. Sometimes by accident, like with the bats at two a.m. Othertimes, on purpose. I spent a good hour today leaning over a railing ocean-side while I was talking on the phone, watching a blue and red jellyfish make its way across the bay. Now, there is a creature that seems to have found its zen.

I tend to move more like the bats–seemingly frantic swoops and false starts, a dizzying dance that makes sense to no one except me–but there’s something to be said for taking the slow ‘float approach’ too. Perhaps it’s time for a zen-like nap…

Far and fast, s.



Jelly, jelly, jelly. Zen jelly. Floaty jelly. Pretty jelly. I just like saying jelly.



More jelly. I’ll stop saying it now, I swear. But come on, tell me it isn’t in your head now. Jelly, jelly, jelly!


“And now,” cried Max, “Let the Wild Rumpus start!” ~Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak



  1. come over:-)

    i like bats too..when i was a child i rember so many warm summer nights..sitting in the patio while they circlet through the dark skies hunting for mosquitos..

    and i totally love where the wild things are..loved it when i was a child…and when my godsons (seven& eight) are here with me during holidays i always read the book to them before sleeping…:-)

  2. I’m on my way! 🙂

    Where the Wild Things are is still one of my favorite books too. I haven’t read it in a few years though. I really should go back and read it again.

  3. […] on the Scottish beach while talking to friends, discovering bird skulls, jelly fish, and baby dolls along the […]

  4. Have fun in Cologne. : )

    It’s gorgeous down here in southern Germany. Broiling and sunny.

    Love your travel blog, particularly the jellyfish.

    • Thanks so much! I’m really looking forward to it… although I did hear that rumor that there’s a heat wave expected to roll in!

      Best, s.

  5. If it gets too hot, just refresh with a Kölsch (little Cologne beer served in skinny glasses, you’ll need about eight to get tipsy). 🙂

  6. Do you know if the bats over there have been afflicted with that white-nose syndrome that’s been killing bats here? I’ve seen much fewer bats this summer – of course until the past couple of days it’s been rainy and I haven’t been outside at dusk.

    I sat and watched a hawk sitting on the birdhouse in the backyard – it was probably there for about an hour. Just looking. Then it flew off.

  7. The cathedral in Cologne is beautiful! I’ve been spending weeks down the road in Bonn at the climate negotiations, but this last trip took the train up the Rhine valley to visit Cologne. One has to stretch one’s legs at these UN meetings – or risk permanent brain injury.

    It was a Sunday so the museum or Roman artifacts was closed – which was very sad. Though it also meant the cathedral was full of incense. There’s nothing like a cathedral that’s stood the test of time and modern artillery and is still a center of worship. And the windows! Just wonderful.

    Light a candle for us both and maybe the Virgin will guard both our paths …

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