Saturday, October 14, we had a solar eclipse.
I’d been vaguely aware this eclipse was going to happen on Saturday, but had forgotten about it when I decided to take a quick walk around the neighborhood.
As I walked past an open garage, a older White man said “have you seen the eclipse?” I said I had not. He pointed out how the dappled sun coming through the leaves, was a series of crescent shapes. He said he used to be a science teacher, and his students had made pieces of paper with pin holes to see the shadow of the eclipse, but that a canopy of leaves in the trees could do the same thing. Then he showed me some glasses he’d made, putting a welder’s plate into a pair of snorkel goggles. “With these you can safely look at the sun.” I did. Through the glasses the sun looked like a neon green crescent moon. It was really cool.
As we were talking, a someone appeared from the RV parked across the street and came over — a Black man, wearing black jeans, black T-shirt and black motorcycle boots. The ex-science teacher gave him the glasses to look. Then a Jewish family walking to Shabbat services, paused to see what we were looking at and each took turns looking through the glasses as we reviewed our knowledge of solar returns vs lunar eclipses.
For the reader who finds this post in a few years, this eclipse happened exactly one week after Hamas staged an attack on Israel, taking hostages, and Israel declared war on Hamas and ordered the evacuation of a million Palestinians.
So it felt especially poignant to be standing on the street in a safe neighborhood exchanging pleasantries with a group of strangers who would normally not speak, but were, for a moment, united by a simple event in nature that was bigger than us all.