It was a sultry evening and the sun was about to set… isn’t that how a scary story goes?. The neighbour boy had dared my sister and I to come explore the haunted house down the road. We brought butterfly nets and the boy’s scruffy dog, as you do when you are hunting ghosts. We tromped down the road in our bell bottoms and pepsi cola singlets- listening to the crickets chirp and the moths buzz by our ears. It was 1979, I was four, but remember it like it was yesterday. Scared but thrilled, my insides were vibrating, I was determined that I would see with my own eyes what all the scary things that went bump in the night really were.
We approached the dilapidated Victorian beach house as the sun dipped below the horizon and red faded to blue, then black. The neighbour boy whispered, “Here they come!”.
And out of the insect filled night sounds came the eeriest, out-of-world sound my four short years on the planet had ever heard. The house erupted and filled the sky with clicks and squawks and the swooping of soft wings and I felt sure that every demon in hell had descended on this decrepit house. And then the neighbour boy screamed waving his net from his insane perch on the equally dilapidated picnic table, “I GOT ONE!”
At that moment the dog leaped into the bushes, and I in a wild panic, thought it best to follow the one of us with the biggest teeth dove in after him, sprinting on my stubby 4 year old legs pushed on by my adrenaline rush of terror. I heard my sister call after me but I kept running until.. I lost sight of the dog. In the darkness I was blind and entangled in brambles. With no way forward and no way to go back, I stayed absolutely still and listened.
There was something coming through the underbrush, and it was moving fast. It had the smell of rotten eggs and death and was whimpering like a hurt.. dog. The boy’s dog flew past me scared and smelly he was running back to his owner still catching ghosts. I stepped in behind him and he wafted a scent trail for me to follow.
As I tumbled back onto the lawn and looked up to the starry sky I saw the silhouettes of wings, and in my mind I made the connection. They are only bats, Tosca. Only bats. I nearly peed my pants giggling.
How is it that this is a story about being a teacher-researcher?
A journey line of research and being a researcher is made of these moments that define who we are. Each of the moments that I identified equally but differently shaped me as researcher.
This particular story is a reminder: