I didn’t have special glasses for viewing the eclipse today. Where I live wasn’t in the totality zone, but in the 99% zone. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t prepared for what I did see. I wanted to experience the event in its fullness, and not simply focus protected eyes on what was happening to the sun.
I sat in the shade of a flowering cherry tree on the back patio, waiting. I went outside about 30 minutes prior to the time I was told we would be in darkness, or in our case, not quite dark but somewhere in between late afternoon and twilight. My little dog, Sunshine, stretched out at my feet, and we watched and waited.
The first thing I noticed was that the brightness of the day wasn’t quite so sharp. A softness in the sky and in the green of the trees hinted of something different. Then a breeze brushed past my face and arms, a little cooler than the air had been minutes earlier. I stepped out onto the patio to feel the air more fully, and noticed that the sunlight didn’t feel hot on my skin. My bare feet weren’t hopping about on hot pavement as they would have been doing only an hour earlier.
Returning to my chair under the cherry tree, I looked down to say something to Sunshine. To my surprise, she was covered with crescents of light, filtered through the leaves of the tree. My attention immediately left the sky, as I gazed, mesmorized, at the shadows on her fur, watching a dozen or more tiny eclipses dancing across her back and spilling out onto the pavement beside her. I couldn’t force my eyes to look away, and I prayed that she wouldn’t move.
Earlier in the day, I debated about taking Sunshine outside with me to view the eclipse. I read about the importance of protecting pets from the sun, that they could get eye injuries from looking at the sun, the same as people. But Sunshine wasn’t interested in looking up at the sky. She was enjoying the day, sitting at my feet, and doing what dogs like to do – hang out with their people. She had no idea that an historic event was reflecting across her back for me to see.
All to soon it was over. The crescents rotated on her back as the moon crossed the path of the sun, blocking its light from one direction, and then releasing it from the opposite direction as it moved on across the sky. I felt as if I had been given a gift from God. Instead of focusing my attention on the event in the sky, I was given the treat of seeing it right at my feet, on the back of my little dog.
How fitting and right this all seemed. My sweet pup, so appropriately named Sunshine, made my solar eclipse day one that I will remember as long as I live.
I think it’s good to look to the heavens for the works of God, but sometimes it can be just as important to focus on what is right in front of us at our feet.
Something to think about tonight.