I've been debating whether or not I should write about this topic, seeing as how it has been talked about so much in the last few days that it's now like a piece of used chewing gum; it has lost all of its flavor.
I had the day off from work on Monday, August 21, and I had the opportunity to view the eclipse with my family. We rushed around, trying to find the "perfect" location to watch the show. I found myself getting worked up trying to get things together, and getting to where we were going before the crowd gathered.
We did pick an excellent spot ( so did the other hundred people) and I was well pleased with how the whole thing played out. Although I had been preparing mentally for what we were about to witness, I had no idea how intense the experience was in reality.
In that crowd, I saw people who were different, but the same: Hispanic, Arab, Indian, black, white, young, old, fat, thin, liberal, conservative, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, and non-affiliated.
In the moments leading up to totality, everyone was buzzing with excitement and expectation. You could literally feel the electricity moving through the crowd in that lake-front park that day. People on their blankets and in chairs and in boats floating on the green water of the lake-- everybody happy and smiling, everybody looking up.
As the moon moved across the face of the sun, ALL OF US watched the world go dark, the streetlights across the lake coming on. We heard the sound of crickets and watched the sky darken to a bruised shade of twilight blue and the stars appeared. Every person standing on the shore of that lake removed their protective glasses, and watched our moon veil the light of a giant ball of fire, some 93 million miles away.
The joyful cheers from every tongue fell silent, even if it was only for a moment, and there was a sense of unity and peace. I believe that in that moment there was a moment of reflection happening in every mind of every person out there. In that minute and a half or so, we saw something in the sky-- something that was far more important to us than anything else going on in the world.
Some people will tell you that this event was to prepare us for something much greater, and I'd have to agree with them. But what I can say for sure is that for that short period of time, if your eyes were focused on that object in the sky, you weren't thinking about the political circus all around us, or racism, or whatever cause is being fought for all over our country and the world. At that moment, mankind and the natural world was the cause. The beauty and wonder of this eclipse was the thing that brought us together, not a political party or ideology. We didn't have to have some blowhard expert analyze what we were seeing, or tell us how to think about it. Deep down, we all knew.
For a couple of minutes that day, millions of people looked up and saw the eye of God, staring back at us, and for once, everything was alright. We knew the darkness would fade and the sunlight would return, and all fear was gone. A second chance, a renewal, if you will.
I don't know about you-- you may think it was just a stupid eclipse-- but I want to have that feeling again. I want to be blown away again. I'm fascinated with natural phenomenon, with nature here on this big ball of dirt and out there, also. I want to learn things, know things. I want to be enthralled by the mysteries that are beyond my comprehension. More moments like that. I don't care about your race or religion or creed. The only thing I care about is sharing my world and my words with you.