Opinion: Watching the Eclipse


Commentary by Ward Degler

At first, the light got eerie. There’s no other word to describe what happened during the April 8 eclipse of the sun.

My wife and I took a couple chairs into the front yard along with our plastic eclipse glasses and sat down to watch the moon blot out the sun. The moon advanced upward from the bottom of the sun, creating a scimitar shape that grew larger as it progressed over the sun’s surface.

The light grew paler and paler with each passing minute. Then, suddenly, almost unexpectedly, the moon blotted out the entire surface of the sun. That’s when things got weird. It was suddenly night, and the corona around the sun or, actually the moon, was startling. It literally took our breath away.

I remembered seeing a total eclipse in the summer of 1944 when day turned into night for a few minutes. It was eerie then, too. I remember watching the eclipse progress through a pinhole in a small cereal box. My uncle, whom we were living with at the time, showed me how to make the hole and how to watch the eclipse through it.

There have been eclipses since then, of course, but they only blotted out part of the sun. There have also been eclipses of the moon but they happen at night when it’s already dark — so, not as much excitement there.

The most memorable total eclipse of the sun happened the day Christ was crucified. There are several accounts of that event in Scripture, and it has been depicted in several films about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. I am grateful for the eclipse as a reminder of that astounding event.

I believe the next total eclipse is some 20 years away. May we be as startled then as we were April 8.