Today, we understand-- eclipses are biological events, the obscuring of light by one celestial body passing over another. Lunar ones happen regularly, but solar ones more rarely and not in the same places. In some times and cultures, these events have been regarded as having spiritual significance-- especially before science was good at predicting and understanding their cause. When you see one, you understand better how a more primitive culture might have regarded them.
I had another blog set for today but thought I should use the photos Ranch Boss took Monday morning in Oregon. The actual event lasted two hours or so. We, like many others, settled ourselves (with comfortable chairs) to where we'd have full view of the sun and bought special glasses to watch-- because to study the sun is to court blindness. The climax, when the corona appeared lasted about two minutes here. To photograph it he used a tripod, telephoto lens, and a filter to protect the lens-- the sun will destroy a camera as easily as a retina.
Animals aren't alerted like we are. As it began to take out the sun, the vultures had been circling over a nearby road. As the air current changed, they soared less and used their wings more. Then they disappeared to settle onto tree branches. When the moon blocked the sun, we heard the coyotes yodel from up the valley. As the sun returned, a neighbor's rooster crowed. Our sheep and cattle had sought shelter earlier; so I can't say what they thought. The cats roamed around, were a little feisty with each other (not unusual), but then night is their time anyway. Even though we were in the center of totality here, it never got totally dark but more like dusk. The temperature dropped 10 or so degrees.
In a way it was all biology. In another, it was, however a big deal in the US-- something we could all talk about without getting mad or upset. I admit. It surprised me when it felt special-- something I suddenly shared with more primitive cultures as well as our own. I could imagine how scary it must have seemed to a people not knowing it was coming. I could see how someone might claim they brought the sun back to gain power. For me, it was more moving than I had expected it to be when it reached totality.
An event like that is what photography is all about. It allows someone to share with others a moment that otherwise passed and is gone. For much of the US, this was a big event. It felt good to have something we could share without judgment or someone being angry. I liked knowing that as it passed us, it was over others until it went off our continent. It was truly a shared event, at a time when so much is divisive.