Publisher’s Corner: Total Eclipse Syndrome

On August 21, the moon will sneak between the earth and sun creating a giant shadow and engulfing our planet in eery darkness for about 2 1/2 minutes in the path of totality. This is not just a scientific event, it is a spiritual and metaphysical happening for many. The afternoon darkness will make the cicada sing, bats may fly and the birds become silent while they try to figure out the sudden change in their circadian rhythm. They won’t have to deal with their confusion for long though, as the whole event is over in minutes and the actual totality lasts only seconds if you are splitting hairs. The last time a total eclipse came over St. Louis was way back in 1442, 50 years before Columbus landed at Plymouth Rock. Throughout history, solar eclipses have been steeped in lore and legend. Many cultures feel it’s a time when the sun and moon are fighting and that is disruptive and instills fear in many. But not all cultures feel an eclipse is a terrible event. Some feel it’s a time for reflection and reconciliation. An African story states the sun and moon are fighting during an eclipse. The people encourage the sun and moon to stop fighting and then they see it as a time of coming together and resolving old feuds and anger. I hope our representatives in Washington are watching the eclipse and some of that African tradition rubs off on them and it’s not just a myth. I am trying to create some new legends and lore when the eclipse comes our way. I plan on taking off my hat and pointing my chrome dome directly at the eclipse during the moments of totality. This will make the sun and moon think my bald head is a long lost kindred spirit and suddenly and without any pain or anguish hair will immediately begin to grow creating a beautiful celestial crop of locks atop my mindful melon. I also have decided to empty out one of the old steamer trunks we found at a garage sale years ago and at the very moment of totality I will open up the trunk and magically and mystically all sorts of riches will come raining down into the trunk from the universal god of treasure and abundance. Then there is the new tradition of sexual adventures during an eclipse, but I will keep that info for my memoir, “50 Shades of Gray Hair.” I can understand why so many people are enamored by the total solar eclipse. And I will be out there watching as the moon slides in between the sun and Mother Earth. It really is fascinating to remember that we are all just Whos on a dust speck atop a clover in a field of flowers. Whether we think of the event as spiritual, scientific or just plain old fun, we can appreciate it for what it is … rare … and we love things that are out of the ordinary. People who make too much of the eclipse may suffer from Total Eclipse Syndrome. And millions of those people will be looking to the sky on August 21 just after 1 pm in the St. Louis area. I can’t help but think something very special is going to happen. Something no one predicted. Something so wonderful and eventful that it will go down in the annals of Total Solar Eclipse lore forever and ever. Darn, I have caught the fever and I feel a syndrome coming on. God, I hope it’s not cloudy that day! There are myths to be made.

Looking Up! J.B. Lester, Publisher