We are not prepared. We are left without glasses, welding helmets and/or cereal boxes. We do not go someplace special to watch it, but rather stand in our back yard silent and observant among the stillness.
"It began with no ado. It was odd that such a well advertised public event should have no starting gun, no overture, no introductory speaker. I should have known right then that I was out of my depth."
~ Annie Dillard
He is more prepared, having a deeper understanding of the science behind it, while I am drawn to the light in the yard. Light dances on flowers and trees in ways it has never done before; different angles, different shadows, different moods. I notice slivered moon patterns in the grass as the shadows drift through the trees. I try my best to capture it, but at some point I put my camera down and just be.
"What you see in an eclipse is entirely different from what you know. It is especially different for those of us whose grasp of astronomy is so frail that, given a flashlight, a grapefruit, two oranges, and fifteen years, we still could not figure out which way to set the clocks for Daylight Saving Time."
~ Annie Dillard
The sky returns to normal, the warmth seeps back in and the dog and I head inside. He slips down the hall, nap time I think. I hear the steady rhythm of his breathing across the hall, as I sit in my office uploading my camera card.
I barely hear it at first, a deep throated howl, the volume growing and growing. It seems so out of context it takes me a moment to understand. I rise from the chair and head into our bedroom where I see him sleeping, his head on my pillow, his throat opened wide to his baying. I gently pet him, wondering what he is dreaming about, wondering if it had anything to do with what we just witnessed. I like to think it was as magnificent for him as it was for me and that he is just telling the world.
I get that, because I feel the very same way.
" I saw, early in the morning, the sun diminish against a backdrop of sky. I saw a circular piece of that sky appear, suddenly detached, blackened, and backlighted; from nowhere it came and overlapped the sun."
Annie Dillard's beautiful essay 'Total Eclipse' is available for the next couple days from the Atlantic. I hope you get a chance to read it.