Along with what I’ve termed an eclipse hangover (brain and body still buzzed by the whole experience) there were also some pretty terrible jokes about today’s celestial event shared by humans everywhere. One of my favorites: “How does the moon cut his hair? Eclipse it!” Which is wrong on so many levels not the least of which is that the moon’s energy is perceived to be feminine – her masculine counterpart being the sun is perceived to be masculine. Makes sense at least to me given their roles in the solar system. One is about action and fire the other is about inner reflection and more grounded energy.
All kidding aside, today was magical and other worldly. No matter where you were – at least in the US – if you ventured outside for an hour just shy of noon (here in Colorado) the world was transformed. Just for a little while. The temperature was much cooler, the shadows longer and your conversations with fellow humans perhaps less restricted than usual. Simply because there was a unifying event over which no one had control that was slightly scary. And that made it even more fun as we collectively balanced in the space between terror and amazement on the emotions scale which equals awe.
There were questions about the kinds of glasses, returns of glasses that weren’t safe after all, and homemade contraptions that made viewing without glasses possible. The spectrum of tools used ran from fancy telescopes and cameras whose viewfinders really took the breath away to the eclipse shadows made by the leaves of a tree. You may have even had your beloved animal companion outside with you wearing an identical pair of eclipse-safe glasses.
Which, according to NASA, weren’t necessary although I’m sure your intention was well-founded as an excellent guardian of said animal. I received many questions on social media about the eclipse and the effect it might have on the vision of Animals. I invite you to notice the next time you’re outside with your 4-legged companions and/or notice any other Animal in the wild. They don’t look up into the sun – ever. It’s a reflex on their part not to look where it’s not healthy for them unlike the humans that surround them.
There was also quite a bit of discussion about how Animals in the wild were going to react once the lights were turned off, so to speak. Even for just a few minutes. Scientists across the country were eagerly anticipating observation of our relatives to see what their reaction would be to the eclipse. For what purpose I’m not quite sure other than to attempt to translate other species’ behavior into human terms and therefore into minutiae devoid of meaning. I’ve never been able to watch any being – human or otherwise – and say unequivocally without talking with them – “oh yeah, I know exactly why they’re doing that.” The motivation behind any being’s actions is as numerous as the stars and as important as the behavior itself. Without that connection between the two we’ve reduced that being to a “them” with us being the “us”. It’s a separation of the worst kind because there’s always a choice about how to engage with another. It can be clinical and one-sided or it can be a multi-layered rainbow-colored deep dive into the experience of another. And because of this depth there is much greater understanding gained about the why and the action itself becomes much less important. The whole point, really. This understanding and empathy of knowing another being intimately and being literally in their skin.
I asked, by the way, what Animals in the wild think of this scientific observation during the eclipse. Their answer is true to who they are and as direct. “We think it’s rude to watch and write notes without speaking.” And so it is. Hope springs eternal in my heart for our species to realize that the collective awe experienced yesterday happens every day with all beings. The protective glasses of scientific observation simply have outlived their usefulness.