Next week, the Moon will “extinguish” our Sun for a brief time. A small strip of the North American continent will be aligned just so, and when the Moon moves between our Earth and Sun, it will cover the entire Sun, turning morning into night.
I have fantasized about seeing a total solar eclipse ever since I read Annie Dillard’s description of one many years ago:
“The second before the sun went out we saw a wall of dark shadow come speeding at us. We no sooner saw it than it was upon us, like thunder. It roared up the valley. It slammed our hill and knocked us out. It was the monstrous swift shadow cone of the moon. I have since read that this wave of shadow moves 1,800 miles an hour. Language can give no sense of this sort of speed—1,800 miles an hour. It was 195 miles wide. No end was in sight—you saw only the edge. It rolled at you across the land at 1,800 miles an hour, hauling darkness like plague behind it.
…Less than two minutes later, when the sun emerged, the trailing edge of the shadow cone sped away. It coursed down our hill and raced eastward over the plain, faster than the eye could believe; it swept over the plain and dropped over the planet’s rim in a twinkling. It had clobbered us, and now it roared away. We blinked in the light. It was as though an enormous, loping god in the sky had reached down and slapped the Earth’s face.”
The Sky Gods will perform a bit of celestial magic overhead on Monday August 21. I will be heading north tomorrow to experience the totality first hand. I’m looking forward to the show.
How might this magnificent sky show affect us physically, mentally, emotionally?