We were lucky enough to have been able to observe the Solar Eclipse on Sunday, May 20th……….or at least most of it!
The eclipse occurred just as the sun was setting so it was not optimal……but an event like this is always amazing to see.
The earliest record of a solar eclipse comes from ancient China.
The date of the eclipse is recorded as, October 22, 2134 B.C.
Oriental belief held that an eclipse is caused by an invisible dragon devouring the Sun.
Observers would make great noise and commotion in order to frighten away the dragon and restore daylight.
I began my quest to observe this great and historic event by gathering the necessary items……..a quick trip to my wine cellar for a proper Chardonnay………unoaked for the eclipse
……remember never look directly at a Solar Eclipse…….unless you are drinking an unoaked Chardonnay…
I settle myself on the deck and prepare for this event that on May 28, 585 B.C. was startling enough to cause a five year war between the Lydians and Medes to end as the two Middle Eastern armies agreed to a peace treaty and cement the bond with a double marriage due to the day being turned into night by a Solar Eclipse.
The sun seems to be getting ready for her great hour by shining in a most brilliant and spectacular way…..
….or it could be the Chardonnay!
………the anticipation is great and I ponder the words of the poet Archilochus,
“Nothing there is beyond hope, nothing that can be sworn impossible, nothing wonderful, since Zeus, father of the Olympians, made night from mid-day, hiding the light of the shining Sun, and sore fear came upon men…..”
…..and then it begins….the heavens seem to swirl……
…..I fear that I may even see the Witch of the West crossing the sky……
The moon slowly moves in front of the sun as it is setting much too quickly………
……I wish that I could run to the West to continue to watch this amazing sight……remembering the Greek historian Phlegon reporting “…in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was an eclipse of the Sun which was greater than any known before and in the sixth hour of the day it became night; so that the stars appeared in the heaven; and a great earthquake that broke out in Bithynia destroyed the greatest part of Nicaea.”
…..but with all her majesty, the sun slips past the horizon taking with her the beautiful artistry of the eclipse….I am left to bask in her waning light, with my Chardonnay…
………..as English poet John Milton, in Paradise Lost, wrote:
As when the Sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams, or from behind the Moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations and with fear of change
…….so until August 21, 2017, when the eclipse will make a 185 mile-wide shadow across the continental United States from West to East….cheers!