The Magic of the Eclipse

We experienced quite the astrological show in this part of the world earlier this month with the solar eclipse passing through so much of the continental US – including a total eclipse in my area in North Texas. And I have to say that even with a small bit of cloud cover, it far exceeded my expectations. As it was, the cloud cover may have even added to the mythical eeriness of the moment.

I’ve experienced eclipses before – partial to be sure – but a decent amount of coverage to see longer shadows and those fun crescent shaped shadows through the tree leaves. I admit I wondered how might this be different? But I got my eclipse glasses in advance and, like so many in the country, waited.

Those partial eclipses, and even what I saw on the news earlier in the day, did not prepare me for the experience, for the quiet that descended as the wildlife momentarily suspended their daytime activities: the bird’s songs, the buzz of some insect in the greenery next to me a moment before, even the people around me dropping their voices to a whisper if they even talked at all.

Then there was the growing chill. I heard the temperature could drop about 10 degrees, but that seemed a stretch considering how long the totality was expected. And with the wind slowing to a standstill, how would the temperature still drop? I wasn’t questioning the science (and the science around this is fascinating), but I didn’t anticipate how that drop would feel for a few short minutes. But I felt it.

For those three to four minutes or so, the world around me was quiet, preternaturally so and yet…beautifully so. As I looked up at the sky, the glowing ring around the moon turning the clouds a shade of grey seen only stormy nights in black and white movies, I marveled at nature.

The eclipse highlighted the power of the sun and how much we depend on its warmth and light, but also the quiet power of the moon reminding us how much she can affect our planet.

In a strangely reassuring way, the eclipse reminds us of our tiny role in this vast universe. No matter what we do – or what we do to each other – the planets continue to move. And for one moment, so many of us in this country were united in staring up at the sky in wonder. People turned to each other with exclamations of joy and admiration. What would happen if we hung onto that feeling and that sense of shared experience? What could happen?


Patricia returned to Texas after spending several years on both coasts. She's a writer, amateur photographer and traveler.

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