Norman Knight: Blessed under the moon

Pages from my diary — Eclipse Weekend edition.

Friday — According to scientists, Becky and I make our home in one of the ideal spots to experience the 2024 total solar eclipse. Some time ago two separate family couples both from Chicago reached out to us about coming to Indiana for a weekend visit. “Of course,” we responded, “What a good time to celebrate together.”

Now the weekend has arrived, and true to form, we are not ready for our guests. I went grocery shopping this morning and learned that, yes, they had had Moon Pies for sale two weeks ago but, now they were sold out. Oh, well. At least they had the extra dog food we needed for our grand-dog Wrigley, who has been staying with us this last week. Yes, it’s going to be a busy weekend.

Maybe I should try to get a short run in. It is cloudy, chilly, a little rainy out the door. The run is going well until it goes downhill. And I mean that literally because I stepped wrong descending a hill, lost my footing and met the rough country road with the side of my face, my right shoulder and right knee. Ow. I am cut and scrapped but no major damage. Oh, well. Maybe my right eye will be ringed in black like an eclipse.

Saturday — First arrivals. Nephew Derek and his son arrive from Chicago. A few times a year he drives down. Mostly to visit us, but I think he wants to get 12-year-old Mason out into the country woods. Derek has to juggle school and sports schedules plus negotiate custodial responsibilities with Mason’s mom, so these plans are made quite in advance. Way back in January, the first weekend in April seemed like the best bet.

This is the ideal time to look for morel mushrooms, so after they got settled in, I suggested the four of us plus dog Luna and grand-dog Wrigley head to the woods. Better weather than yesterday, drier and mostly clear light. “Found one!” rang out soon after we got to our secret area. After the first find it usually goes easier. Mason spotted his first ever morel and soon our mesh bag was full.

Later Mason asked to climb a tree stand. Any kid exploring the woods would want to do that, right? Derek hovered below while we all watched. Back at the house, we made solar cookies which were better than the Moon Pies we didn’t have. The rest of the day is adventures in the country woods. More exploring, more animal encounters, trees, creeks, ponds. Sun goes; dark comes. Tired out. Sleep.

Sunday — Church canceled in anticipation of huge crowds in town. Clear cool weather. Breakfast with mushrooms and eggs then outside. Just a bit more hiking. Feeding the goats and horse next door. Eventually, it was time to load up and head back north to Chicago.

After they left I had just enough time to load Wrigley in the car to hand her off to her family just back from Spring Break. Wrigley had a good time visiting but was excited to see her human family. I am just back home when David and Rhoda, the next Chicago family, shows up. We eat and visit for a good while. All are tired, but we stay up late chatting.

Monday — E-day. Morning prepping for the Big Celestial Event. After lunch we tote lawn chairs and bags filled with drinks and the all-important solar glasses to the meadow. The sky is thankfully clear. Through the glasses, we can see the dark moon slowly covering the orange sun disk. Some of us chart the moon’s progress via cell phones with other family members in other states. At totality it is safe to take off our special glasses and look at the dark sun directly. In the now temporary night of our meadow, frogs peep in background. the air is noticeably cooler.

As with most natural phenomena, after a time the day goes right again. The warm sun is back, We smile at our good fortune, our blessings to have witnessed such an event. Not a human-made event but nature — and God — bringing us together. We are blessed.

Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected].