A young man, transported from 20th century Connecticut to King Arthur’s court, finds himself in a pickle, and tied to a stake for performing acts of sorcery. He happened to have an almanac with him and knew that a solar eclipse was about to occur. He warns the king that he will make the sun disappear, and on cue, the sky darkens and the sun sinks into a black hole. The king pleads with him and the young man agrees to make the sun reappear in return for his freedom.
Whenever I hear about a solar eclipse, I can’t help but think about Bing Crosby in the 1949 movie, “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” an updated version of Mark Twain’s 1889 novel. That particular scene portrays a historical representation of omens and superstition that have accompanied solar and lunar eclipses for centuries.
Today, we know that a total solar eclipse occurs when the new moon passes between the earth and the sun at a distance where the moon and the sun appear to be the same size. If in the path of totality, you would see the sun disappear for a short while, followed by images that are described as truly magnificent. The hype leading to the 2017 eclipse led millions of people to flock to the path of totality to observe what could be a once in a lifetime experience.
I’ve heard stories about the unsettled feeling one can have when the sun disappears— even though rationally, you know it will appear again in a few minutes. The mere possibility that it could disappear into a black hole that all is not all right with the world, can be overwhelming. Yet, the beauty and shared experience with those around you can be astounding.
On Aug. 21, 2017, many of you witnessed a total or partial eclipse somewhere in the continental United States. If you missed it, you will be able to see a “replay” and some magnificent photos here. If you did see it, you’ll have amazing stories to pass along. A colleague recounted the words of her mother after viewing the Aug. 21, 2017 total eclipse, “Viewing the eclipse was one of the most remarkable events of my entire lifetime. It was incredible to witness totality and the immense beauty of it all—it was indeed an emotional experience!” Events like these can have a profound impact on a person’s emotional health, and serve as a great reminder to slow down, take in the world around us and experience the beauty and wonder that is all-around us.