Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Wowed by the Eclipse
From the the Associated Press story about yesterday's eclipse:
Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.
Eclipses are a big deal even now in our post-modern age in which the tendency (in my culture anyway) is to reduce the event to nothing more than a chance to study the sun's corona. For heaven's sake. We scientific-minded folks love to take all the fun and mystery out of everything, don't we?
A German friend wrote an amazing piece (a number of years ago) about her experience of an eclipse. She gathered with others at a park somewhere in northern Germany where people picnicked and chatted until the moment of totality when everything got quiet including the birds, including the small children. No one moved a muscle, the breeze died down. She said everything just stopped. When the light returned, people shed tears. It was involuntary, perhaps (the Germans are stoic people), but at least physiologically, those who witnessed this amazing event felt its power. An eclipse is a lot more than a chance to study the sun's corona. Please.
Isn't it miraculous that the moon's orbit places it at the perfect distance from the earth, so that during an eclipse it covers only and exactly the face of the sun? I find that simple fact amazing. Miraculous, too, is that yesterday's eclipse occured just as the sun was transiting from the sign of Cancer (that is ruled by the moon) to the sign of Leo (that is ruled by the sun).
Don't ask me what it means; I have no idea. But I love any big powerful celestial event, don't you? Oh yeah!
The pics on the Associated Press story are GREAT ... a Sadhu wearing eclipse glasses, a Japanese seal wearing sunglasses, a monk watching through a telescope, a crowd on the shore of the Ganges, etc. Very cool.