The Solar Eclipse of 20th March 2018
The Smile of Sun Upon Our World
The sun's plumb red corona washes against the darkness.
This image is in places indistinct, unknown, magical. We search the swirling light that in a few short moments punctures and deforms the dark sphere of moon.
Transfixed, our ordinary lives subside as we gaze skyward to our place of dream.
In this artwork the moon partially obscures the sun whose dazzling crescent smiles upon the earth.
The eclipse of 20th March 2018 skirted my home in Southern England where the moon covered eighty five percent of the sun's surface. 1,250km (775 miles) due north the sun's disk was completely concealed.
A blanket of mist and cloud caused my experience to be very different than when I had witnessed totality sixteen years earlier with a community of onlookers on the sand dunes of Cornwall. This time I was alone and had the opportunity to hear more intensely and consider more carefully as the gradual transformation towards an uncommon twilight took shape.
The thick cover of cloud changed my perspective but made it no less intense. I came to realize that light, while profoundly important to me, is far from the only force at play as the earth, moon and sun align: the air gradually calmed, the intensity of birdsong increased, and I sensed an unhurried change in my body too subtle to articulate, yet undeniable. My excitement in this shift from the familiar grew stronger as the moment of alignment approached.
The following poem ponders on our human scale against the celestial backdrop of a solar eclipse.
Our Solitary Puff of Dust
The crust and air of earth spin slow,
All history plays out,
Upon our sea of chance,
The shadow of our moon,
The song of child,
A mother's love,
A father's loss,
All hate and war,
All this and else,
Our solitary puff of dust.