The eclipse event was similar to the 1989 San Francisco earthquake in that everyone seemed to take these great natural events as a personal encounter. Everyone I talked to was into the exact time and place of their experience. They recount the details with what they feel is great accuracy and personal intimacy with the event. The earthquake was unpredictable in time but inevitable in the long run. The geological record in the earth shows shifts in the soil as clearly as tree rings in a Ponderosa pine. The astronomical eclipses are even clearer in time and space and the deviations over a thousand-years timescale are small. With modern high precision measurements and computer computations, the next few eclipses can be accurately predicted well beyond what a person could observe with their natural senses.
So, why do people feel so much personal involvement with these events? If a sudden and unexpected earthquake shakes you up personally, and destroys your home, and kills people in your vicinity it is obvious why you are personally involved. You remember it as personal, but for an eclipse which is known far in advance and the only physical discomfort is being a bit chilly for a few minutes, it doesn’t seem it should be felt as personal. And yet, most people I have spoken with made some effort to observe the totality or near totality. One friend reset his lawn chair the night before so he would be facing the morning sun. He watched it for a few minutes and then went on about his normal life. I also know some spiritually inclined people who make a big thing about Irish caves, and special junctures of natural things. I expected they would make big preparations for the eclipse but they didn’t claim to have done so. It will be interesting what these people make of it after the event.
My personal relationship was that as I watched the near totality from the top of Pilot Butte, a thin smile formed of the bottom edge of the Sun. It was reminiscent of the smile that is being used on the cover of my new effort of a book … Love Our Life. The Sun’s smile was a one-sided smirk that moved into a symmetrical smile and then over to an opposite side one-sided smirk. It was quite distinct if you looked at it that way, which I did. My psychological and spiritually inclined friends would make something of that, such as I have a deep-rooted pathology or as a portent of something unexpected and weird.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that I was on camera for over an hour both yesterday and today. Curious.
This was a fun couple of days but tiring.