PARTIAL ECLIPSE OF THE DAY, AND POP ROCKS
Here or there. Partly and/or totally obscuring the sun’s presence has put the moon in a prominent position of importance that it hasn’t enjoyed in many years, nor will it for years yet to come. As it turned out that old moon had a strong influence on many decisions of the day. Today, August 21, 2017, has been a day planned for, enjoyed, and discussed mutually by a nation known for its varied interests and opinions. Here in our little piece of the nation, our county was divided, north in the region of totality, with south being 99% totality. I live in the South. I had ample opportunity to travel a few miles north where I could have seen the total eclipse, but was invited to view the partial eclipse with a sweet group of girls I call sister, niece and great nieces. Now, with all the hype I read concerning travel caution and crowds, and my being a fairly unexcitable person (save that thought for later), the choice was easy to spend that time with family. I’ll admit I was thinking this is likely the only time my husband and I will get to experience such a thing together; but he refused to get enthused about it all, and I wasn’t even sure he would go outside to view the eclipse. The cute text I’d received three days earlier was too irresistible anyway to miss the ‘eclipse party’. I’ll partly eclipse the text to read you the cute part: “We are having Sundrop, Sunchips, Moonpies, Pop Rocks, and GF sun cupcakes and ham cheese sandwiches.” I took along an 8-pack of Sunny D, and chose Swiss cheese in honor of the lunar surface (smile). I believe my niece, Jessi and her girls planned that menu.
Safety first. Viewing the eclipse was the topic I heard most, with concern for everyone’s vision. There is something about my planning ahead skills that gets eclipsed by day-to-day routine rubble that never seems to produce anything extraordinary. I’d say the first blessing for my day was the planning ahead skills of my brother-in-law and my sister who knew me all too well and saved eclipse viewing eyewear for my husband and me. Thank you Bob and Kathy.
Nothing new! We awoke this morning with a little more energy than usual, something kin to the first day of summer vacation, or Christmas morning, depending on the kind of kid you were. I kept thinking this is like an unprecedented holiday that everyone shares. I also wondered who’d take the blame if they had missed the timing, or the date in predicting this event; so much for my knowledge of astronomy. I’ll admit a little thought crept into my head about international enemies and how much of our population would be crammed into a band of land across the country. But I eclipsed that thought way before it began to broil. The ‘moon’ that overshadowed it was thinking about how the planets, sun, moon and stars are just up there doing their thing with no regard to our scurrying around to get a peek at it all. God the Creator just spoke this beyond amazing process into action to keep us revolving from one day into another and one life into another and season into season and it almost takes my breath away! But for the words of Ecclesiastes and Amos I would be at a loss for what to think; lost in a world of opinions, superstitions and instability. But the Preacher of Ecclesiastes who gave his heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven (1:13) said, “And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us” (1:9-10). Whew, this is no big deal, to the universe anyway. I know it’s all in good hands – the only hands big enough to hold it – as Amos a prophet for God said. “Seek Him that made Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; …the Lord is His name. (Amos 5:8)
Modern technology. With the totality of truth and the Spirit to comfort me, I drove into town with more gratitude for modern technology than I’ve ever had. My son and daughter and I could experience a phenomena of our times together, apart. From Nashville, Tennessee to Golden Pond, Kentucky and myself between the two, we could text and talk our experiences as they developed. A last-minute scare with TV reports of fraudulent eyewear having been issued, caused my first series of fast-paced texting. I was perhaps somewhat excitable at that time. Between “be sure, be very sure…” texts and “what, how do we know…” questions, I experienced just a tad of panic. Thankfully that was eclipsed by a phone call from hubby stating he was indeed on our own patio watching what we were watching too; and using his eclipse glasses properly!
Generational gap. It seems what to one generation is big, changes almost as fast as the 1500 MPH land speed of the moon’s path. This also was brought out by the television news anchors as they mentioned songs with lyrics mentioning the sun. One of the songs they selected was “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” to which I began singing along. My ten-year old great-niece looked at me kind of oddly, and I said, “you’ve heard that, right?” Not even the mention of Bill Withers or Stevie Wonder gained a glimpse of recognition. Her mom later said, “She didn’t even like the DMX version of that song”. Uh, the what??
Thank Goodness for little girls. My misunderstanding of the exact purpose for having eclipse viewing ‘glasses’ became apparent (I mean, why can’t people keep themselves from looking up into the sun anyway) when at last Katja and Izzy persuaded me to step off the patio and look at what was the beginning of the solar eclipse. Oh MY! So, THAT’S what the glasses are for! There in my vision was a golden globe with a small bite out of its 2’oclock. I was hooked. Excited. Amazed. I tapped their mom, on her phone as all her age would be, and said, “You have to see this!” I lost my unexcitable characteristic for the day. We all did. Still we agreed that it would be more sensible to stay and see nearly a total eclipse than to load up and risk missing something just to drive to a location within the edge of totality. Kathy said by the time the girls argued over which glasses were whose, or lost, and so forth, it wouldn’t be worth it. We were happily enjoying our patio lunch, and actually seeing what had been shown us on TV that we would see, when IT happened. At 15 minutes before the peak of total eclipse, a big cloud came over the sun; our excitement was eclipsed in an instant. Like a band of storm chasers, we phoned (no answer at my house) to locate the nearest sunshiny spot, and took off, split into two cars. I laugh now at the sight of the youngest of our bunch grabbing her booster carseat and running across the yard to catch Mimi’s car just as it almost backed over her! But grace covered us in our giggling grasp to save the day.
And now it is history. Parked at the Murray Bank we stood leaning on her car, gazing through cardboard framed glasses at a disappearing sun. Our voices grew louder, and our comments more incredulous. I couldn’t decide what was more odd, the movement of the moon across the sun, or the appearance of deepening dusk, at 1:20 in the afternoon! And then it hit me. The truly incredible thing of it all was the way the sun and the moon pulled us out of our routine into a ring of childlike fun and games; that it put us into a festive frame of mind and brought us together to share a wonder of the universe. Of course, Aunt Trisha had to throw in a word for the Creator of it all, saying “and that’s just a part of how God keeps all the planets in their paths”. However, as we drove back I realized Izzy was way more interested in the way her Pop Rocks sizzled on her tongue than any path of the planets. What a neat day!