A Sunday walk

We decided to head to Inspiration Point for a late afternoon walk yesterday. As we were leaving our street, we saw two tiny fauns and a doe in our neighbor’s yard, right by the car. The fauns were nursing. Though I’m not a huge fan of deer–those ravenous despoilers of gardens!–it was an amazing sight.

Then we walked the couple of paved miles up to the point which was unusually crowded. As we headed back down the trail, a woman coming up asked, “Aren’t you staying to see the eclipse?” Turns out there was a solar eclipse scheduled to occur in half an hour. This explained the crowds. But we didn’t have the requisite dark glasses, so kept on heading back down. As we came along the trail, a couple pointed out to us that where the leaves created a filter, shadows of the eclipse appeared on the asphalt. I didn’t believe it at first; the eclipse had barely started. But the crescent became undeniable as we walked through increasingly delineated moon shadows all the way back.

It was almost like walking through fireworks as we wound our way from one group of shadows to the next, the eclipse deepening all the way. At a certain point, I noticed that our shadows themselves were blurred at the edges.

I was so sorry I hadn’t brought either camera or phone. But luckily, others were out there capturing these effects. And apparently, Robert Bly once had a similar experience in Maine, about which he wrote the following:

Seeing the Eclipse in Maine

It started about noon.  On top of Mount Batte,
We were all exclaiming.  Someone had a cardboard
And a pin, and we all cried out when the sun
Appeared in tiny form on the notebook cover.
It was hard to believe.  The high school teacher
We’d met called it a pinhole camera,
People in the Renaissance loved to do that.
And when the moon had passed partly through
We saw on a rock underneath a fir tree,
Dozens of crescents—made the same way—
Thousands!  Even our straw hats produced
A few as we moved them over the bare granite.
We shared chocolate, and one man from Maine
Told a joke.  Suns were everywhere—at our feet.
Robert Bly

To me, this is more of a blog entry than a poem, but perhaps you feel differently.

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