The Things You Might Learn If You Pay Attention On A Playground

Or: A Sleeping Bat During An Unthinkable Global Crisis

Sophie Lucido Johnson
7 min readOct 26, 2023

Yesterday, at the playground, there was a bat.

Like, a living, sleeping bat, tucked covertly but precariously away beneath one of the ledges that my daughter likes to walk along on the perimeter of a play structure. A bigger kid found the bat first, and I’m a little ashamed to tell you that I didn’t believe him. I mean, when a kid says, “Hey, I think I found a bat,” you generally assume he has found a crumpled bag in the general vicinity of a tree. But then more kids gathered around the “bat area,” and the word “bat” was thrown around with greater confidence, and when I went to take a look, I audibly gasped.

“Oh my God, that’s a bat!”

“I said it was a bat,” said the initial (visibly peeved) kid. Poor kid. It sucks when adults refuse to believe you. In this instance, had been a bad adult. But this was neither the time nor place for me to have any shame, because: A BAT!

The bat was tiny, which has been true of every bat I’ve seen in the wild. This sleeping playground bat was my third. Once, I’d rescued a bat who’d flown into a building while it was migrating through downtown Chicago. The Chicago Bird Collision Monitor woman had scolded me for…