“Holy bats, Batman … that’s a bat, man!”

So I’m driving back from Syracuse last Monday, as part of the proverbial “Drive of Shame” (as I mentioned before, of the nine entries that I submitted to the New York State Fair, only two this year – Farrell in Aerochrome and Mittsu No Yuki – were rejected), and I thought about stopping by my old alma mater, Hamilton College, for an impromptu photo shoot.

I took a few pictures of the iconic Hamilton College Chapel, and then decided to enter the Chapel itself (which is permitted, the building is unlocked) and maybe take some time for reflection and prayer and recharge.

Apparently I wasn’t the only entity in the Chapel.

Was it another student, someone staying on campus for the summer as part of the College’s Higher Education Opportunity Program?  No.

Was it another alumni, someone who also was traveling through and felt a similar pang of longing for the place?  Nope.

Apparently this entity wasn’t human.

Was it one of the campus dogs that wandered the grounds?  Woof says no.

Was it a spirit from beyond, someone who walked by night at the nearby college cemetery and whose religious wanderings I interrupted?  Doubt it.

No, apparently the Chapel was occupied by a little fruit bat.

I’d use a quirky “Holy _______________, Batman!” quip, but I already used my best one for this in the headline.

So there’s a bat, flying around the interior of the Hamilton College Chapel, interrupting my emotional recharge.  I shoulda gone to the Root Glen and recharged there, I know, I know.

But at that point in time, I had three options.

  • (A) I could have opened a window and maybe the bat could fly through it and out.
  • (B) I could have tried to catch the bat in my hands and maybe film it in my hands, a la Steve Irwin.
  • (C) I could have found a broom or a stick and swatted the bat like I was Jose Altuve.

And in the end, I chose Option D.

I set my BlackBerry KEYone camera phone’s video mode to super-slow-motion and filmed the bat as it made a few more passes along the balcony.

Then I left the Chapel and drove home.  Honestly, the bat wasn’t hurting anybody, it wasn’t causing any damage, there was no reason to disturb it or to try to circumvent its existence, as far as I was concerned.  He was probably trying to find his way back to the college bell tower, because bats live in the belfry, right?

Of course, I joke about this, but it wasn’t until I got home and checked Facebook that I heard of the recent passing of former College President Martin Carovano.  Carovano was President of Hamilton when I was a student, and he was the one who shook my hand as I crossed the podium for my diploma.  He was a good man, a decent President, and there’s an elevated bridge across the Root Glen named in his honor – “Martin’s Way.”

Just like Hamilton College to span my emotions in a 24-hour period – from fun and excitement to reflection and wistfulness.

Carissima, indeed. 😀