A picture of a solar eclipse at totality

I took the day off on 8 April 2024 and reject­ed all offers for com­pan­ion­ship for the eclipse. Instead, I hiked out into the mid­dle of a swamp, sat in a pine grove, and had a good long think about many things from the time the eclipse start­ed, until just after total­i­ty. For all of the talk about crazy amounts of peo­ple, I was alone the entire time. It was exact­ly what I need­ed.

I’ve also been watch­ing Three-Body, the Chi­nese-pro­duced series based on The Three Body Prob­lem, by Cix­in Liu.

Enough aligned that a con­sid­er­a­tion and encomi­um of small­ness, par­si­mo­ny, and grat­i­tude was prob­a­bly an almost inevitabil­i­ty. Watch­ing red-winged black­birds and swamp spar­rows, hear­ing tree frogs, dawn and dusk chorales, and gun­fire (shoot the moon?), pick­ing pine nee­dles and ticks out of my hair, and get­ting chilly were all excel­lent reminders though I am a self, that’s not much to brag about. Then the sun went out because the moon got in the way and Jupiter and Venus were there, like always, except I could see them.

On my way in, I’d picked up an 8 foot length of pine branch to use as a staff while I made my way through the swamp. Also, my knee isn’t what I used to be. On my way out, I went a dif­fer­ent way, and had to scram­ble up a train tres­tle of stone and scree. I need­ed a bit more sup­port, so I added a bent and oxi­dized rail­way spike to my oth­er hand. With staff and dag­ger, on a day of fire and air, I climbed my way upwards, until I made it back to woods with trails. Anoth­er mile in I saw two young witch­es mak­ing their del­i­cate way down a small ravine. They were so intent that they did­n’t hear me, despite the bell on my back­pack. I must have been a sight, all in black, cov­ered in mud and cat­tail fluff with a long staff and a rail­road spike.

I told them where an eas­i­er way back up could be found, and gave them my staff to help them on their own adven­ture. I find tools when they are offered, and try to give them away as freely. It’s as nat­ur­al as an eclipse, or tree frogs singing when it gets dark out­side.