Monday, August 21, 2017

"Hauling darkness like plague behind it"

I saw a total eclipse, once.  From the 13th floor (!)* of an office building in downtown Austin, Texas.  I have a vague memory of watching the shadow, the wall, the darkness, racing across the landscape from the west toward us, the light not going out but....going strange, and then extinguished.  Street lights snapped on. Birds went quiet and still.  The mind reeled, rejected what it saw, panicked in some deep recess.  For a moment I wanted to bang drums and fire explosives and chase away the...thing...that had done this to the sun.

That was over 30 years ago (I left that job for school, another school, another degree, in the mid-80's).  I remember it better because Annie Dillard described it so well.  You'll have to hurry, though; that link goes dead in a day or two.  The Atlantic is stingy with their archives as nature is stingy with its most harmless, and most amazing, phenomena.

*there's a story behind that, too.  Perhaps another time....

1 comment:

  1. The only time I remember looking directly at an eclipse was through my brother's welding mask, so it was green.

    I liked the annular eclipse we had here in, if I recall, May 1994 because the light it gave sort of turned everything silvery, the birds started singing for dusk and you could see little circles of sun thorough the shadow from the leaves on the trees.

    Now? Meh.