Monday, August 21, 2017


After all the hype and hurroar, it finally happened. It came, and it went, and the world is back to normal, at least on these few acres.

We considered traveling south to see the total eclipse, but a four-hour journey one way to get another 10% of it didn't seem worth the time and trouble. And as I heard reports of traffic jams I knew it was a good decision. So we stayed home. I watched the whole show, with a few darts inside to cool off (it's about 90 degrees here) and Larry didn't pay much attention to it at all. His eclipse glasses were a waste, I think.

I remember an eclipse when I was a child, in 1958 or 1959 I think it was, and we stood in our backyard and looked at the sky. I don't remember any special glasses, but I do remember my mother warning us not to look directly at the sun. Which puzzled me, because we often laid on our backs in the grass, looking up at the sun and sky. I remember it got rather dark, but that's about all I can recall. This was not a total eclipse, but it was impressive to a child of 8 who had just learned about how the sun and moon travel around the earth.

There was another that I remember after I moved here. I was up on top of the ridge and a neighbor was there--he told me there was going to be an eclipse and we watched it together. It was just a partial one, and again I didn't have special glasses or equipment.

This time I bought the recommended glasses and I am glad I did because I doubt I'd have seen much without them. I put them over my camera lens to take photos, and got a fair result. But mostly I wandered in the yard, picking some ripe white grapes and watching the birds to see what they would do. I picked a yellow apple and munched that with the grapes, a make-do lunch in between sky watching. It was quiet--so quiet. Only the rain crows (mourning doves) were calling, predicting rain in the next 24 hours. An indigo bunting perched on the telephone line but it was silent. Even the breeze died down, and the mid-day insects were silent. It was as if everything was waiting.

It is difficult to put into words how the eclipse affected me. I thought of all the millions of people putting away their cares, their anger and hate, their busyness, and just stopped. Just stopped and together looked heavenward. It was as if the whole country was praying. Maybe many of us were. Praying for peace, for harmony between all people who call this place home, for an end to hatred and bigotry and distrust. Maybe there were some doing that. Maybe that lifting of our eyes from the everyday, that pause in the race, reminded us that we are so small in the scope of the universe, mere dots, a drop of water in the ocean of time, and our worries and troubles mean little in that grand scheme.

Maybe when people looked around at each other and smiled, or looked at the beauty around them, the lushness and richness of this great land, maybe they came away with a feeling of new hope and resolve. Maybe.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Quinn said...

Well, I like your vision of harmony and prayer, and as Madeleine Albright said on twitter, the eclipse is a good reminder that darkness does not last!
I hadn't planned to do anything special, but about 5 minutes before the eclipse was to be partially visible - far north from your view! - I found a box and made a little camera obscura and went outside with it and my camera. I took a few pictures in the box, of the pre-eclipse sun through tree branches, which was fun, but then the sky clouded over and I decided to stop being bitten by mosquitoes and go inside. But the funniest thing was when I turned around and found Fern the goat standing at the fence, watching me walk around with my face apparently stuck in a box :)

Mac n' Janet said...

Whereas here it just rained.

Granny Sue said...

Oh Quinn, you made me sputter and laugh out loud!! What an image!

Granny Sue said...

Aw, sorry, Janet. It was pretty cool. We had clouds and I was worried they might get in the way, but thankfully they cleared just at the right time.

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