Overcast with a touch of ground fog this early Friday on California’s north coast — rain expected by this afternoon (or maybe drizzle) and at least some showers on-and-off maybe through the middle of next week.
Apparently, today is special — beyond humanity’s metal-grinding influence, a trio of so-called ‘celestial’ events will mark the time; a total solar eclipse early this morning, visible only to a sparse few folks in most-northern Europe, sized down to a partial solar eclipse seen across all of Europe, northern Africa and much of northern Asia; a Supermoon, too, but since it’s a new moon, invisible; and the vernal equinox, start of spring, which supposedly comes this evening.
Each is rare, but all three in the same day — so says Christine Wilson, president of the Canadian Astronomical Society: “It is unlikely … for these things to line up.”
(Illustration: ‘Falling Stars,’ by CookieSoul).
Or maybe, as explains Paul Delaney, a professor at York University’s department of physics and astronomy, the whole shebang is coincidence, a collective of “purely serendipitous” occurrences, and a life less ordinary if these were ordinary times.
Hence, we’re also in throes with the twice-yearly ‘time of the equinox,’ that seasonal divide — vernal (spring) and autumnal (fall, Sept. 22 or 23), where the sun’s most direct rays shine on the equator, and stuff starts, or stuff ends. Spring is sprung, but coming off the warmest winter in earth’s recorded history, heat can wait.
Along with ‘serendipitous,’ there’s also the ‘superfluous‘ — from the Guardian yesterday, a piece on how solar eclipse and vernal equinox are pitched in literature, especially noteworthy is this by William Shakespeare, from King Lear:
“These late eclipses in the sun and moon portend no good to us,” says Gloucester, and goes on to sketch an apocalyptic world, setting the template for the myriad dystopian fictions of 400 years later.
“Nature finds itself scourged by the sequent effects. Love cools, friendship falls off, brothers divide, in cities mutinies, in countries discord, in palaces treason, and the bond cracked ‘twixt son and father … We have seen the best of our time.
“Machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders follow us disquietly to our graves.”
Disquietly my ass…the ‘machinations‘ of humanity make it so not-happily by chance.