A Total Eclipse of the Sun

Published 1:58 pm Sunday, April 14, 2024

“Every now and then I fall apart.” That’s a line from Bonnie Tyler’s gigantic 1983 chart topper, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”

            It was revived in plenty of ways Monday as our nation obsessed over the total eclipse of the sun. If you wanted to see anything on television that did not include coverage of the solar eclipse, you were out of luck!

            I watched it for about five minutes, which is about how long the “totality” of the event took. If I heard the word “totality” one time, I heard it a thousand. Totality was the word used for the complete block-out of the sun by the moon. Here in South Georgia, we didn’t have “totality.”

Email newsletter signup

            But they did in Texas and other places as the event entered around Eagle Pass, Texas, and traveled up through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and, finally, exited the United States via Maine. Here is South Georgia, I didn’t notice a difference in the afternoon.

            For a day, the nation forgot about its woes. Millions of Americans rented hotel rooms at four times the regular cost, traveled hundreds of miles to sit outside in lawn chairs, carried their picnic baskets, and through specially bought glasses, enjoyed the spectacle.

            The few minutes that I watched on television centered on the border town of Eagle Pass. Usually, that city is associated with illegal immigrants invading our nation, but for one day, the news out of Eagle Pass was about the solar phenomenon. When the eclipse reached its climax, I must say, “It was impressive.”

            For a change, instead of soaking up the sunlight, the moon blocked it. All that could be seen of big brother sun was an outside ring and not too much of that. The usual hot afternoon became a cool night for about four minutes.

            At zoos all over the nation animals were confused. Giraffes ran around in circles, the donkeys hee-hawed, hyenas laughed, and the wolves howled at the moon. I don’t know what the monkeys did, but one day here in Bainbridge, we may know.

            For all of you who missed the solar eclipse, don’t worry, there’ll be another one in twenty years, 2044. I wonder how they can predict these things.

            I guess solar eclipses have happened ever since there was a sun and moon. In fact, if you look at the history of eclipses, you’ll find that the first one on record happened thousands of years before Christ was born.

            In fact, the gospel of Luke records that on the day that Christ was crucified, “It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.” Luke 23:44-45

            I don’t think that was a solar eclipse, though. That seems to say that the darkness lasted three hours, but the totality of solar eclipses are only four minutes in length. What Luke describes is a divine phenomenon, but more of a reaction to the death of the Son of God rather than an eclipse of the sun.

            Nevertheless, our nation is excited by events like the one that happened this past Monday. We have a saying that goes like this. It is “made for television.” We are starved for subjects to take our minds off the current problems like immigration, crime, inflation, and all sorts of trials.

            Although I didn’t spend a lot of time on the solar eclipse, I’m thankful that it happened and it was good to see the nation obsess over a natural event rather than the man-made troubles that are all around. We’ve got plenty of time for that!