On Kauai today, since we’re not in the exact path of the solar eclipse like the Mainland from Oregon to South Carolina, we at least will get a vestige of this big celestial event. If sky viewing allows, our view will be like a wink of the main event. For detailed information, you may watch local media sources and/or go to the Bishop Museum Planetarium website or other internet sources that will give precise information.
One thing we have learned is be sure to protect eyes anytime you are viewing the sun. You’re sure to find where safe viewing specs are available. Even a disposable pair will work. We had some of these kicking around for awhile after the last big solar eclipse that occurred in the early 1990s. I tossed them when I found them in a travel file I cleaned out some years back.
It happened that we were on our way to visit a late dear uncle and aunty in Southern California right after that main event, so being skywatchers, we decided to add on a prologue and join a group of Kauai friends who were flying to stay on the Big Island for the event. It turned into a great party, overnighting with a former Kauai resident who lived near Hilo.
Only thing, that solar eclipse was best seen not from the Hilo side, but from Mauna Kea. We couldn’t join the pre-dawn travelers because we were traveling out of Hilo toward California that very morning. However, we did experience the great darkening, the quiet pall that hung over the land, and an interesting animal observation.
I recently read of a study where scientists are documenting the effects of eclipses on birds and animals, and I remembered our host’s dog that morning in Hilo — how I noticed his rather strange behavior. He was a gentle, big dog who went outside in the early morning for his usual run around the property. He came to be let in, cringing and whining in an unusual way as the eclipse got underway. It was remarked on, especially when he went to huddle on a corner of the rug, head on his paws and emitting slight whimpers as he gazed dolefully from dark liquid eyes.
It will be interesting even at 22 degrees north latitude orientation of Kauai island to note what your pet or pets do that is any different on this day. I’m wondering if our garden’s alpha rooster and his slightly skinnier brother will act calmer and hold off their bouts of sparring during the eclipse time; if the birds will just go back to sleep in their nests, thinking it’s still night; if the geckos will reawaken and return to their zestful bug catching and midge eating pursuits after hardly a wink. Possibly, some of us may feed into the science study if there’s something notable to document.
Now, I’m thinking, how will we humans react. Will we feel any different? Will the darkening of the sun and some quiet inner time lead to some creative efforts, maybe modern mythological stories or scores of music, poems, paintings and sculptures? Or a dance, barefoot on a grassy park or sandy beach, or within a mountain clearing?
It might be so refreshing to watch that Great “iPad” in the sky and listen for a voice within us instead of large and small e-screens with commentators’ voices leading us to what we think and feel, perhaps overlaying what would spring forth from our deep, individual centers.
No matter how much our life on island keeps us ticking and healthy, my husband and I don’t expect we’ll be here — except in spirit — for the next solar eclipse. Knowing this makes the present sweeter: We must take the greatest pleasure from the present moment, as we do with each full moon and star shower, with each coming of daylight and warmth, and moonrise.
Dear readers, happy eclipsing!
Dawn Fraser Kawahara, resident author and poet, has focused her supportive interests within the Kauai community since the early 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live in Wailua Homesteads. Their passion for travel flows into the writer’s monthly TGI column, “FarAway Places.” Kawahara’s books are available through Amazon and other outlets. For information, www.kauaiweddingsandbooks.com