‘Live’ blogging the eclipse

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Partial solar eclipse over Queens, N.Y., in 2013. (Curbed NY)

We are not going anywhere for the eclipse. We are going to view it from our backyard, sitting in patio chairs, without special glasses. Are you alarmed? No, we are not going to look directly at the sun passing behind the moon. We are going to be watching the “darkness at noon” effect (okay, 2:30-ish), paying attention to how the dusky partial eclipse will effect the ambiance of our little corner of the world.

Yes, it is true. You can watch the eclipse without those sunscreen glasses. The eclipse is not just the moon’s dance with the sun, it is the several moments of sudden midday darkness and how it affects appearances and Mother Nature. These can all be seen without looking directly into the sky. So let’s begin live-bloggin’ th’ ‘clipse!

It is 2:02. We are getting ready to go outside. The view northeast from my “office” window shows a sky filled with milky cloud cover.

2:05. Victoria just said, “I’m going down to make coffee.”

2:09. I look outside again. A patch of blue has appeared in the sky. I am wondering why the Providence Journal’s story did not mention what time the eclipse was supposed to be visible in Rhode Island. I read the whole story looking for that factoid. Maybe I skipped over it by accident. I look for the time of the eclipse online. A website called timeanddate.com gives the moment as 2:47. But it has a moving diagram with text that says the eclipse began to be visible here at 1:28, will be at maximum eclipse at 2:47, and will be all over by 4:00. So I guess we’d better get out there!

2:21. We are out on our patio, with coffee. The sky is a bit more cloudy. I don’t know whether the dimness of the light is more because of the eclipse, which hasn’t reached full, or the light cloud cover.

2:55. No apparent diminution of light attributable to the eclipse rather than to the sun. We pretty much chatted through the height of our partial eclipse, and looked for evidence of what others were seeing on our trusty iPad (hers) and iPod (his, and new). We paid attention to the birds, and having watched The Birds yesterday, had installed anti-aircraft batteries in our yard a few days ago. Only kidding. (Our neighbor’s air conditioning unit had mercifully gone off at around 2:21.)

3:39. Well, nothing happened. No, correction. Something happened, but we could not tell what it was. How much of the slight diminution in light was because of the partial eclipse and how much was the natural result of a thin layer of milky clouds? How to know? Or how to care? Hard to know. But yes, we did experience the eclipse. It was a pleasure sitting outside alone with my wife and the birds, whose tweeting, or should I say chirping, seemed to diminish during the supposed height of our partial. Very nice. It should happen every day. Now what should I use to illustrate this post?

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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7 Responses to ‘Live’ blogging the eclipse

  1. A Subscriber says:

    I slept all day and got up at 7:45 pm (Providence time). Then, I opened my email and found your experiences. Guess I didn’t miss much.

    Reminds me of that great Peggy Lee song from 1969 called ‘Is That All There Is?’, which I hated when I was 17 but now fully understand and appreciate.

    Looks like you had a nice vacation, Dave. Beautiful place! It’s another example of something I never knew about until I learned about it from you.

    Like

  2. Very nice. I had a similar experience, but yours made me think of tea time – in saying that it should happen every day – 4pm – nice – sit alone or with company, listen to the birds…the sun dims…

    I did thoroughly enjoy watching the total eclipsers on television and those who were brought to tears for 2 minutes and how they all wanted more. And then there was the older refined couple from England or Australia who looked up at the reporter who was chattering on and on just before the eclipse was to go total and said, in all seriousness, “are you going to talk through this?” – it was a moment, older generation to young…

    For today’s Total Eclipse of the Sun, I am grateful…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shedguy says:

    I was outside working in Exeter, the sun kept breaking through the intermittant overcast…I did notice a slightly odd cast to the light at the proximate time…

    Liked by 1 person

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