Was it any more miraculous than the phases of the moon, than the shortening days of fall, than a sudden snowstorm? It was in some ways. Poor Galileo’s ghost hovered, slowly nodding his head and whispering, “I told you so.” As the hot late summer afternoon turned to twilight, excited kids ran down my overgrown lane with home-made viewers. Something in them answered, “Too bad you had to die before we were enlightened – or unenlightened, sir.” They all know what you were talking about now. It’s part of their You-Tube, Ted Talks education. Funny how when they grow up and become lawmakers they’ll forget, or find it less important than the gross national product.
How surprising it was to find in the couple of days before the eclipse so many people who didn’t have the faintest idea that it was imminent. As I scoured the shops for safety glasses for my grandchildren, shop assistants wrinkled their brows and offered me “clips?”. One bright spark admitted that it might have been a “good idea” to have a few pairs on hand. I finally found some in a toy shop and was grateful to the intrepid lady in front of me who insisted that the young lady at the cash open the package to be sure they bore an ISO number. Maybe I was overanxious (a fault of grandmothers). After all, even the President of the United States took a sneak peek without his glasses. He is, however, a specialist in various types of blindness.
How is it possible to be blind to our place in the universe? Given our finite number of days, surely a wonder, a sign like this that the mechanism really is in orderly
motion should be cause for a sort of reverence. We get blasé about the change of seasons, about the silver lantern in the sky at night, about birth, even about death. The eclipse makes us see that something grave and mighty is at work.