Visit my show at the PSCCU Credit Union, Vashon, Washington May, June 2024 

There Goes the Sun (da, da, da, da, da)

In a world that’s full of darkness, it’s nice, even miraculous, when something pulls us into the light together.

Usually, it takes something dreadful to rally us as a country—stuff like war, a common enemy, a bellicose leader, or a terrible tragedy. 

Last week the sun and moon pulled off the ultimate convening event—a dazzling ballet with incredible timing. Millions of people stood together—across divisions of races, genders, nationalities, faiths, and politics for a moment of common awe.

In Carbondale, Illinois, 13,000 spectators packed Saluki Stadium, turning their eyes toward the sun using event-provided glasses.

In Niagara Falls, New York, 200,000 people flocked to town, making the eclipse the biggest event in the Fall’s history.

Watching the event, children squealed and their parents “wowed.” Couples embraced, and at least a few got married. The spring peepers stopped peeping, and birds suspended their chirps. For many, it was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

Unfortunately, I was not one who got to see the big event—the Northwest was socked in clouds, and we were off the route of the “Totality.” But I experienced the moment vicariously through reports and pictures, listening to often jaded-sounding journalists use the word “spiritual” to describe their experiences of witnessing a total eclipse in the presence of thousands of others.

Despite all the divides in this country, our differences were “eclipsed” for a few moments by a stunning galactic performance.

Let heaven and nature sing

We weren’t the only creatures to be moved. Birds and animals felt the power of cosmic forces. I can’t be sure, but I bet the trees and slugs were moved as well.

The Washington Post quotes “Grammy” from Ohio who wrote:

We watched from our own yard…about an hour before Totality the birds in our trees began their night songs in preparation for what they thought was the coming night. It is usually quite noisy and this time was no different, sounding like hundreds of singers, trilling different tunes, warming up their vocal cords for the night’s performance as the sky began to darken and then they suddenly stopped. Silence. …

A few minutes passed and then as if sensing the coming sunrise, they broke into a chorus of many joyous parts of different songs…”

How wonderful to remember that we’re all a part of nature, moved by the same astronomic events. 

A communal experience

I wish I could bottle the magic that allowed people to come together across differences.

Another Washington Post reader wrote that they experienced the eclipse as the opposite of what this country experienced with the pandemic. 

Instead of all the death and division that happened with covid in 2020, hopefully, this is helping to bring a much-needed healing catharsis and unity for us all in 2024.”

For those few moments of the Totality or partial eclipse, gloom was forgotten and glee prevailed for the children, elderly, patients, politicians, students, lovers, and Buddhist monks lucky enough to witness the event.

Out of darkness into song

When life’s feeling dark, it’s good to remember that there are planetary forces at work much bigger than we are.

And it has been feeling dark recently. Just read this week’s news about what the Arizona courts have done (and Texas plans to do)  to limit a woman’s right to her own body. And that’s only one piece of news. 

It will be years before the next total solar eclipse. And sometimes we can’t wait for the next spectacular solar event to shift our mood.

Instead, we can turn to song.

Singing the light back in

I happened upon this amazing cover of the song that George Harrison wrote after he and the Beatles had endured a particularly trying winter—and it shifted my day.

I dare you to watch this contemporary and delightfully goofy version of “Here Comes the Sun” by the uber-brilliant Jacob Collier without smiling. The video is performed by singers and dancers who weren’t even alive when the Beatles made their music. They certainly caught the vibe!

Infectious goofiness may be exactly what it takes to bring the light back into our lives. And song.

It turns out I am late to the party when I discovered the 29-year-old Grammy award-winning Jacob Collier. This next song (with its cartoon-like video) is my newest “it” song, with a place on my turn-the-dark-into-light playlist. (What could be more fabulous than hearing Brandi Carlisle join Jacob in song?) “Don’t be afraid of the dark; you’re going to find a way…”

Jacob Collier in “Little Blue” featuring Brandi Carlisle (heard but not seen in this video) – a new dark-into-light favorite. I suggest listening first without the images so you can soak up the music.

It will be years before the next eclipse. Good thing we have song.
With sun or with song, we can “carry the weight of the world” on our shoulders and still find our “way back home.”

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