We should have an eclipse every day. In the midst of a season of truly awful words and actions filling the news daily, yesterday’s eclipse was like a secular Easter. I was part of a huge crowd that gathered near Watertown Public Library to take in the event. The mood was festive and anticipatory. I saw folks I hadn’t seen all summer. I met new people who were gracious enough to explain their home-make eclipse viewing gadgets to me. Everyone looked equally goofy in their eclipse-watching goggles. Not being in the Path of Totality, as the afternoon continued there were equal parts looking-up-at-the-sky and wandering around gabbing with people. it was awesome.
And by awesome I mean both “a really fun time,” and “full of awe.” An eclipse puts everything in perspective. While we humans have been making a hash of our corporate life and threatening all things nuclear, the planets, galaxies, universe (multiverse?) keep on holding us in being and operating on a timescale outrageously longer than an election cycle.
Maybe if we looked up more it would change our decisions and deepen our gratitude. The prayer we use to bless bread and wine at my church every Lent gives thanks for the “vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses,
and this fragile earth, our island home.” This prayer is often dismissed as the “Star Wars prayer.” But I’m always thankful for it. We are part of systems and forces way beyond our daily awareness, not just on the days we gather to watch eclipses, but every day. Let’s not wait till 2024 for get together in celebration of that.