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Some friends and I were on top of one of only three volcanos located within a city in the United States today to watch the Great American Eclipse. The cities are Honolulu, HI, Portland, OR, and Bend, OR. All of those volcanos are more or less extinct. The one here in Bend hasn’t erupted for a hundred and eighty thousand years so I don’t worry about living on its shoulder. Debbie and I took a little over half an hour to walk from our house to the top, where there were about a hundred and fifty people who had also walked up the paved road. It was closed to cars because that would have been dangerous with so many people walking on the narrow road.

There were several people I knew, so for us it was an impromptu community event. I did talk briefly to some strangers and they were very friendly but I suspect that most of the people on the Butte were Bendites because if someone drove all the way from California they would have gone the extra thirty miles to reach totality. The locals I asked about it said they just walked up from their homes. The one exception was my friend Don who drove away from the eclipse totality to be with me.

Okay, this is weird but he has been making a movie about me for three years. Actually, it’s a movie about people moving into the geriatric condition and I am one of the subjects or victims if you prefer. However, the others haven’t been as available as I have so the movie is trending toward being about me. Don carried his rather fancy, expensive and heavy equipment to the top just to record my viewing of the eclipse. I said it was weird.

I went up there to view the Moon’s shadow skidding at two thousand miles per hour directly over our family farm above Madras. That is forty-three miles from Pilot Butte and sort of visible and would be in darkness. Mt Hood is ninety-three miles and easily visible from the Butte and it was in some direct sun so it would be bright. The plan was for the foreground to be in partial sunlight, the middle in darkness, and the distant mountains in partial sunlight. It would have made a good picture. Unfortunately, there have been large forest fires this last week and there is so much smoke that Mt Hood was invisible and the visibility was barely discernible out to Smith Rock at twenty-two miles.

The flight of the shadow was spectacular but it just looked like dark clouds. However, if you watched the quickness of the color change it was fun. The most fun for me was the moments near our totality because I could actually perceive the Moon moving across the Sun’s face. It was just a sliver of a smile but it changed from a smirk with the left side high in less than a minute to a symmetrical smile to a smirk with the right side higher. It wasn’t a huge difference, but to a human perception which detects the smirks of hypocrisy it was pronounced.

So, at least for me, there was a fine emotional involvement with the eclipse.

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