Inspired by an Unseen Eclipse

It’s almost sunrise. I force myself to leave my warm bed on this Sunday when a lie-in is possible. Glancing out the window, the clouds in the East are discouraging but the¬†grays of the dawn sky are taking on a yellow glow and there are hopeful breaks of blues. Hidden behind those clouds, the Sun is about to be eclipsed by the Moon and I’d like to see it.

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There’s not an open view to the East from my house so I think about driving to the beach but instead, I just walk around the neighborhood searching the sky. Shuffling through the leaves in my driveway, I pull my hood up against the damp chill. To my right, the hedge twitters and beeps with Chickadees and Nuthatch and a squirrel scrabbles up the Oak tree. The neighbors are quiet – no leaf blowers, no cars warming up. In the distance, I hear the hum of the highway traffic and sweetly, a church bell tolls from across the river.

As I turn the corner, a drizzle fogs my glasses and the clouds have turned back to dull grey, closing off sky-views behind a dense wall. There will be no views of this morning’s rare solar eclipse, no glimpse here of the Sun with a Moon shadow. Not in my neighborhood. I turn back to the warmth of my house.

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I like to see these unusual celestial events, to gaze up at the sky and think about spinning through space in a universe so much bigger than ourselves. I like these visual triggers to ponder the mystery of existence, to climb out from under the mundane crap cluttering my mind: my desk at work piled with paper, the bills that need paying, the house and yard that needs cleaning. Oh, there are infinite ways I get lost in minutia every day, the lists and worries. But this morning, these things shrink away. My thoughts are in a bigger place: the miraculousness of Earth spinning around the Sun.

I remember that right now, in time and space, my friends in Japan are in their night even as I watch this day’s beginning. With pleasure I think about a dear friend in Tasmania celebrating the warmth of Spring as I ready, reluctantly, for winter. Everywhere around this earth, humans – asleep or awake – experiencing joy, sorrow, birth, death, so fast and endlessly moving yet present, now. Incredible.

I need these reminders of the vastness of the Universe so that my paper-strewn desk, the leaves on the lawn recede, at least for a time, to the appropriate corner of my being. Even as I missed the personal visual, I feel the joy of an expanded consciousness created even by imagining the shadow cast by the Moon over the Sun, behind a bank of clouds.

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