I once awoke to golden flakes coloring the Atlantic Ocean. As the sun ascended from the horizon, they extended into gilded streaks that rippled along the sea’s surface. I gasped in awe at nature’s majesty.
On August 21, 2017 the sun darkened at midday. That’s it. That’s what happened. Not quite the comparable spectacle for my tastes. The much heralded solar eclipse didn’t even measure up to a solar flare.
Before it even started, I had issues with the set-up. I experienced the Solar Eclipse from Pennsauken, New Jersey. Small puffs of clouds arranged peripatetically throughout the cerulean sky. The temperature reached the mid-80s, but the humidity level remained comfortable. This describes just about any “beautiful summer day” described in poetry, songs and romances. I would’ve preferred a less cliché setting for such a “captivating” celestial display.
Then as “peak eclipse time” approached, the heavens darkened. Not as dark as I’d expected. From the legends I’ve heard about these phenomena, I expected “day to turn into night”, if you will. Not so. The darkness compared to the atmosphere during a rain shower. And we’re told ancient societies quaked in terror during a solar eclipse!? What was wrong with those people!?
Unexpected thunderstorms plague South Jersey during the summer. On one of the few storm free days we’ve experienced recently, the solar eclipse made it appear one was imminent. How awe inspiring.
As poor as the sun performed during this occurrence, the moon disappointed even more. One October I recall looking out my bedroom window during a full moon. The Yardbirds’ psychedelic instrumental “Glimpses” played on the radio. The lunar orb weaved through the apertures in the overcast sky. It created quite a sensory spectacle.
The moon did not bring its “A-game” to this eclipse. Its dark outline became visible during the day. I perused a thesaurus after writing that line. Still, that’s the most elaborate way I can describe it.
On many days I’ve seen the moon CLEARLY during daylight hours; especially in the early morning. (Keep in mind the sun concurrently shares the sky with it at this time, too.) A spectator can view craters along with the rest of the intriguing landscape in the naked eye. During the eclipse it appeared as a dark circle. Based on this performance, I’m starting to understand why man hasn’t visited there in over forty years.
This natural phenomenon quickly turned into a phenomenot. Let’s hope the 2017 Solar Eclipse turns out to be a “rebuilding year” for celestial displays. It sure didn’t inspire me to travel the world and witness other eclipses when they occur. From now on, if I want to see the sky darken in the middle of the day, I’ll just patiently wait until nighttime.