This evening about or so we were able to view the annular "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse here in southern California. Ever since I was about nine years old and my mother created a cardboard pinhole for me to view the moon crossing over the path of the sun I have had a love for eclipses.
However, I nearly missed this one.
I had noticed that the light had changed but as we were BBQing I had forgotten about the eclipse until my husband, Kevin, got a phone call from a friend reminding him of the astronomical event. While I clamored for cardboard Kevin went into the garage and came out with a set of welding goggles and two more lenses.
"Genius!" I exclaimed.
Placing the goggles on I was able to view the solar eclipse as I had never seen before. Granted, everything was tinted dark green, but I didn't care. I was witnessing the universe in motion.
It seems so strange to me to view two spatial objects that are nearly 100 million miles apart yet visually appear to interact with one another.
Instantly I was reminded of my nine year old self, dreaming of Sally Ride and Christa McAullife; distant planets and alien encounters. I was in the Young Astronauts Club led by teacher extraordinaire: Mr. Tipton. Sadly, none of my rockets ever left earth. Youthful dreams are a wondrous thing and I hope my son is a big dreamer. He already has an obsession with pointing out the moon in the night sky.
Space is a representation to me of that which is bigger than us. Space is the unknown. It makes me realize how little of the universe we know about and perhaps more importantly, how little of it we Earthlings occupy.
I can only hope that I will not forget the nine year old who dreamt of something bigger than herself; that I never stop exploring the universe and never, ever stop dreaming of distant shores.