We’d been chatting about those cardboard pinhole thingies we both remembered making in school so you didn’t fry your retinas by staring directly at the sun during an eclipse.
It hadn’t crossed either of our radar screens that we should have made a plan this time to buy some eclipse-safe glasses, so we decided to just head down to the beach and experience what we could in the changing light. This basically involved getting too hot while the sun was still fully visible, schlepping up to the house to change into tank tops and shorts, then feeling chilled as the sun gradually slipped behind the moon.
As once-in-a-lifetime experiences go, it was proving somewhat underwhelming.
That is, until Inspiration slapped Rick upside the head.
“Hey, look what happens when you make a basketweave shadow with your hands!”
In a blink, Rick is trotting up the stairs towards the house, leaving me on the beach with my iPhone, miffed with myself that I hadn’t figured out earlier that a 90% total eclipse at 10:00 a.m. during low tide was going to offer a photographic “golden hour” from an angle I had never seen before, and never will again.
My inner photographer was seriously vexed with my outer adult worker-bee who had failed to anticipate such a stupendous opportunity, so I punished myself by shooting mundane seaweed clumps…
… and the patina of abandoned oyster shells that glowed with a notably unique softness I hadn’t noticed on our beach before.
A twilight filter cast on things only normally recognizable (to me) in the bright eastern light began to shift the mood…
… which took another hard left turn as Rick jogged back onto the beach loaded with a hand full of perforated kitchen utensils.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is what a 90% eclipse looks like as seen through the lens of our new spatula, set against the fabric of our black beach chair.
The slotted soup skimmer came in a close second.
And that was that.
Valuing our eyesight above the experience of actually seeing the eclipse with our own eyes, we settled in to absorbing the event with our bodies (minus eyeballs) and hearts.
I started playing with my iPhone camera again.
It wasn’t until this afternoon, when I started casually flipping through the shots I had taken, that I realized my camera had been recording WAY more than I knew.
What was that mysterious blue crescent that presented itself?
I zoomed in for a closer look and realized that not only had we been graced with proof of wonders we could not see with our own eyes in the moment…
… but that this is true on all kinds of levels, if only I had the eyes to see.
I started going through all the photos I shot this morning, and the signs were everywhere.
The evidence of amazingness is all around us, even as we struggle to see things in the most ordinary of ways.
God, give us eyes to see…
… and hearts that remain soft enough to be filled with wonder and gratitude.