Dear UUCPA folks,
There was such a nice neighborly feeling on Monday. I left my dance class in a rush the moment it ended, 15 minutes before the eclipse’s peak, having stretched to “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” (We all cracked up when it came on. “I couldn’t resist,” the teacher said.) A cluster of people was already on the opposite sidewalk, watching the moon and sun do their dance over the building. A few had eclipse glasses and handed them around to the rest of us. Everyone smiled and said “Wow!” and “That’s beautiful!”
After about ten minutes, realizing I could probably get back to my daughter’s school in time to join her and her classmates outside, I thanked everyone and hurried the four blocks. A park I passed was full of skygazers. Workplaces had clusters of people outside, and we smiled at each other. At one shop, a motorcycle repair and rental place, no one had glasses, and I showed them how to use my pinhole viewer. Then someone emerged wearing what looked like a welding helmet. Laughter with stranger-neighbors, and the shared pleasure of living on this planet, beneath this star and moon, had me a little choked up.
Then there was this: racists and anti-Semites in Oregon seizing the opportunity to hang messages on an overpass: “Eclipse whitey,” one fantasized that people of color think. Another offered, “Jewish financing available” for this imagined project. I guess you can use the coming-together of thousands of people to disseminate fear and hatred among them, if fear and hatred are what rule your universe.
I was happy to see that the signs were reported immediately and the state transportation workers took them down. Love wins, but heavens above does it have to be diligent, determined, and fearless to do it.
P.S. I’ll be sending brief thoughts like this out to the UUCPA community once a week most weeks (probably on Wednesdays from now on). To receive them, subscribe to Announce or CREParents. You can set either one to Digest mode to receive one bundled post per day.