The first sign is a change in temperature. Everything gets cooler. The sun is still too bright to actually see any change. Then the lava fields fell into shade. I came to this place because I imagined an eerie scene … a magical assortment of light seen only once in a lifetime. In my mind, I saw threads of sunlight winding their way around the moon and tumbling softly onto cinder-strewn, frozen lava, sparking majestic features into an unearthly light.
Instead it just got dark.
Something subtle, deep and primitive in me rejoiced to see the light return. The embrace of the sun, once again warming up the earth, was a gentle contrast to the raw power of the earth that burst these burnt fields into being.
I was struck by my reaction. As a photographer, approaching this eclipse, I was all about the light. However, my first sense of the event was a chill. The light seemed the same but the world grew colder. As the moon blocked more of the sun, the change in temperature became vital. It couldn’t stay that way. The world had become unsustainable.
Almost as quickly, the sunlight began to return … warming my chilling bones and reassuring my subconscious self. I could distinguish shapes in the landscape again. The world was coming back.
I can imagine Egyptian Priests, back in the day, used such occasions to instill the fear of God. Would have worked on me. These days, it’s a subtle reminder. This universe is a system. Everything depends on everything else. It’s far too easy to take sunlight for granted.