Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Eclipse of the Midnight Sun

Saturday morning, I woke up at 6:15 and ran outside in my "Little Pig on Holiday" shorts. My big hurry? The solar eclipse. It was supposed to start at 6:21 am, eastern daylight time. Or so I thought.

Out in the yard, not one bird chirped, not one squirrel barked, even Walt (the cat) stayed inside. In a few minutes, the sun rose full faced with no sign of darkness. What did I miss?

Ah, as I soon found out, the eclipse could be seen only from Mogolia, Russia, and the Arctic Circle.

I did feel its presence though . . . a few seconds of half light and that breathtaking silence and otherworldly stillness. When I looked online a little while later, I learned that the arc of the eclipse (not sure what that is) had passed right through Washington, DC, just a few miles away.

The all powerful "nothing" visits our time-managed lives, our winding side streets, our wobbly privacy fences.

I think of Wallace Stevens and his snowman. In August's furnace, I'm thinking snow. In December's freeze, I'm in Jamaica. And whenever there's an eclipse of the sun or the moon, everything is out of the ordinary -- magical and unknown.