Wednesday, March 25, 2015

solar eclipse

Some people found last Friday's solar eclipse something of a non-event because they couldn't see what was happening through the clouds. Some even wrote letters of complaint to the papers - although what good they thought that would do, I can only imagine. Perhaps they they thought the power of the press extends to the forces of nature!

Now, I'll admit that when the day dawned grey and overcast my own spirits sank somewhat. Nonetheless, when eight-thirty came around, the time we were told it would all kick off, I went hopefully into the garden and scanned the skies, hoping for a break in the clouds, or at least a sufficient thinning that would allow me a shadowy glimpse of the great event. But if anything they seemed thicker and so, disappointed, I returned indoors and got on with the morning routine of making school lunches and getting children out the door on time. 

A little later, children gone and peace reigning, I sat by my bedroom window to read my morning office. I was struck by how dark it was; I needed to turn on the lamp to see the pages clearly. And then, before I could begin, I noticed something else: bird-song. I looked up and out the window at the darkening landscape, now as dim as any twilight, but somehow very different with the light coming from above rather than the horizon; the almost surreal half-light filled with music from the trees and hedgerows, as nature's choristers were tricked by the gloom into thinking this day would have a second dawn.

Later still, prayers said, I walked the short distance from my home to the local school, surrounded by bird-song and ghostly light. There was beauty in the strangeness of it all and I was utterly charmed. Did I ever see the moon covering the face of the sun? Alas, no. Was I disappointed by my experience of the solar eclipse? Definitely not. It was a wondrous occasion, and one the memory of which I will treasure.

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