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The Marriner’s Compass

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Hole In the Day

I still remember what must have been my first solar eclipse. I was two or three at the time. I was on the swing in the park near our house, my mom and baby brother were on a bench nearby. It was a beautiful sunny day – and then it got dark and everything looked all gray- silver and all the birds flew into the trees  to roost like it was night time. I have a memory-echo of them making a lot of noise. That’s all I recall. I have no memory of being concerned.  I don’t know even know if I kept swinging. But the memory of the silvery dark-light and the calling of the birds is still vivid after 50 years.

Several decades later I was surprised by another eclipse – I was in Divinity School and I was walking across Harvard yard to get to class. As I walked along the sidewalk under the tall trees in the yard I noticed something very strange – all the dapples of light that filtered through the leaves and patterned the pavement were shaped like tiny crescent moons …

On both occasions the experience was magical. If you would like a taste of this magic there will be a solar eclipse on  August 21st. Here in Santa Fe the sun will be about 80% obscured.If you will be here that Monday, you might make reservations  for lunch under the trees on some lightly shaded patio between 10:22 and 1:15. If you know of a restaurant where you also have a long view of the landscape even better. Or take a picnic up to  Aspen Vista or some other  vantage point. As the eclipse progresses, watch the light on the landscape shift and the colors change. Be very careful about looking at the sun unless you have a filter – instead  look down at the dapples on the table cloth or on the ground  and watch the sun’s image wane to a crescent and then grow round again…    

There is a lake in northern Minnesota called “Hole in the Day Lake” in memory of the unique magic of a long ago eclipse. I invite you to schedule a “hole in your day” August  21st and experience the magic for yourself.    


Rev. Gail

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