Thoughts in the Dark
Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.
We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from
place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a
place where you won't do harm - yes, choose a place where you won't do
very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine.
E.M. Forster — "A Room with a View"
On Monday of last week, I was among the — what was it, hundreds of thousands or maybe many millions, I don't know — who decided to spend the afternoon gazing up at the sky. The plain, ordinary sky. The same old sky that I walk under every day and far too often take no notice of whatsoever. But unless they've been under a really horkin' big rock for the last year or so, everyone here in the U.S. knows that it was soon to be no ordinary sky.
I traveled with my daughter to Carbondale, IL where I was hosted by the wonderful McN family. Mrs. McN is an old college friend and we got to both reminisce and catch up a bit, and I got to meet her husband and sons. Side note: I'm fairly certain that in all of my many years my breakfast conversation has never before contained the word "Ptolemaic" but, hey, you put two history academics in a room together and that's what you get. It was a delight.
So, then the sun went out. I won't recap the event itself. If you didn't experience it, you can read about it plenty of other places. But here are some of the thoughts that crossed my mind during the brief period of totality.
- That's pretty damn amazing.
- Um, is anybody else thinking about Joel 2:31?
- I realize that it's a coincidence and that this happens because the sun is 400 times bigger than the moon and 400 times farther away — but this is the only place in the solar system that has this view.
- Mind go asplode!!
- This is easily one of the coolest things I've ever seen with my own eyeballs — and I've personally witnessed Mik Kaminski dueling a robot with his violin playing underneath a giant UFO.
- Well, I traveled a ways to see this but Carly Simon will never put me in a song.
- I will never be satisfied with seeing a partial eclipse ever again.
I'm already thinking about my plans for 2024.