Yesterday, at 1:34 p.m. here in the southeastern sector of Jacksonville, I got to see something remarkable. The sun was directly overhead. As I viewed it through my special glasses, that big orange orb looked like a mouse had nibbled at the upper right quadrant. By 1:49, the bite got bigger. Then things went south.
The morning storm we’d had returned. Despite weather forecasts to the contrary, it rained for hours. Basically, my eclipse went bust.
It did get darker and the temperature fell. There’s a hawk I see each day in a tree next door as evening approaches. Yesterday as the eclipse progressed, the hawk headed to that tall tree in my neighbor’s thickly treed yard, calling out the familiar cry as s/he messaged her mate I suppose.
My dog did nothing extraordinary except his customary vying for attention and treats.
My daughter and her boyfriend and my other daughter and her daughter all assembled to experience this rare event. I’d purchased glasses weeks ago. I got all excited when Dr. Michio Kaku held up acceptable glasses on a TV show the day before. His were just like mine. Yay!
Each of us got to see some of the eclipse. The glasses worked great. But the day did not progress as I’d anticipated.
Did it inspire me? Absolutely. Those fleeting moments when I witnessed the moon begin to take over the sun’s turf in the sky were amazing. I thought about my ancestors—how they may have feared natural phenomena like this. To this day, my elderly mother fears events like these. She grew up in the rural South—daughter of a sharecropper—and she still passes oral history and superstitions along.
I realized we were probably doing what my ancestors did by marveling at the wonders of nature. Regardless of the weather, yesterday was a cozy time with my family.
Will the inspiration lead to a new poem or creative nonfiction? I don’t know. I just know that image is tucked in my brain forever and it was a remarkable sight.
Although technically we didn’t get the full experience, we did get a small slice of it. I’m good with that.
(Kay B. Day/Aug. 22, 2017)