I remember reading stories of the lines circling the building where Babe Ruth’s body lay in public view in 1948. Men took their children, even those too young to realize the import of the moment, held them high enough to see the great Yankee, and told them, “Remember this day. You are looking on a great, great man.”
Today’s eclipse will be like that, although I must admit, to a lesser degree. In comparison with the Bambino, even a rare heavenly phenomenon such as a total eclipse pales, so to speak.
Still, this eclipse is nothing to miss. For some of you, there will be another in a few years, but this one will last me. It will peek through the skies practically on top of us, at near 99 percent totality, meaning we will get the darkness and coolness as the sun is blotted almost completely away.
Some schools are out for the event; others have extended their days. Make sure your children put down their toys and go outside this afternoon with the approved glasses.
“Why do I have to go outside? It’s hot.”
“Just go. Oh, and look up.”
I am one of those children. I expect to be chief among the oohers and aahers. You see, the skies have never been good to me. I have lost track of the number of nights I have lain on the car hood or parked myself in the yard swing to catch a glimpse of meteor showers. Only once, outside Lafayette, La., in the dark countryside did I spot enough falling stars to justify staying up late.
I have the same record with comets. In 1973, I thought I had missed the highly touted Comet Kohoutek because I was in Central America, but later I learned that everyone else suffered the same great expectations but dismal results. It was a wasted effort - if you can call it wasted to spend warm tropical nights focusing on the moon, the stars, the distant city skyline, ships passing quietly in the Pacific. No comet, though, because the Comet of the Century was named Kohoutek, and Kohoutek turned out to be a no-show.
In 1986, I was disappointed to miss any sight of Halley’s Comet, the very one that flew over to foretell the birth of Samuel Clemens in 1835 and again in 1910 to announce the death of Mark Twain.
I do remember one comet – was it Hale-Bopp? — that hung in our western sky each evening a few years ago, visible over our fence, suspended in space. Well worth the price of admission to this Earth, it was.
As will be today’s eclipse. Give it the attention it deserves. Take it all in with the senses. Feel the cooler temperature when the nearby moon blocks off the far-away sun’s rays. Look at the crescent moons dappling the ground through the trees. Listen up for birds and animals to learn how they take it.
We will never see Babe Ruth again, but pray for clear skies so we can catch the next best thing.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419