You can eclipse the sun, but you can’t eclipse my sappy outlook on humanity.
So, if you didn’t know that there was a solar eclipse today, then the rock you’re living under must not get great reception. For weeks, everyone has been talking about it, planning for it, and buying dorky paper glasses for it. We all waited in anticipation for a phenomenon that feels other-worldly because of its rarity.
A few minutes before it hit peak time here in Milwaukee, I headed out of my office building with two co-workers and we climbed to the top of the parking garage across the street to get the best view. Yes, from up there I could see the sun, but I could also see the pinpricks of spectators on the roofs of all the buildings surrounding me. There were also people below me standing outside of their cars or leaning against brick walls, shielding their eyes and looking towards the sky.
I was hit with a wave that always hits me when these kinds of things happen. This wave that I am experiencing something beautiful and I’m sharing it with strangers all around me. That we can put down our pitchforks and (tiki)torches and revel in something more amazing than our big mouths or unmovable opinions.
The ant-sized silhouette on the roof across the highway could hate everything I stand for, but in that moment, we are agreeing on something. We’re agreeing that the ability of a shadow to snuff out our source of life for a moment is insane. We’re agreeing that it’s nice to get out of the office for a few minutes. That it’s annoyingly cloudy and we probably won’t even be able to see anything. That sometimes the universe does beautiful things. That a shadow has the ability to bring a whole world of conflict back together, even just a minute.
In the words of a billion movies, “We’re not so different, you and I.” We all stare up at the same sun in wonder. Yet, for some reason, when we tilt our chins back down and shuffle back to our buildings and our lives, it becomes a solitary sun once again. One only we experience. One only important to us and what outfit we need to pick for the day or how it will affect our commute.
I wish we could share more moments like this. We wouldn’t spend so much time hating each other if we realized that both we and the sun are made up of the same stuff and, just like the sun, we are all worthy of wonder.