I like the word “awe.” It’s a good word. I also like to experience awe.  The Cambridge Dictionary defines it as “a feeling of great respect sometimes mixed with fear or surprise.” Accurate.

Awe is how I felt witnessing the solar eclipse last Monday afternoon with my best friend.

The Carpenter and I made a deal to get our individual chores done on time so we could meet in the yard to enjoy the view from the comfort of our lawn chairs. The clouds cleared right on schedule. Show time.

We were like children, laughing at how ridiculous we looked in our paper eclipse safety glasses, impatiently waiting for the moon to start its slide over the sun. We “oohed” and “aahed” watching the darkness take shape. The play-by-play was comical. We weren’t disappointed that we couldn’t see the totality of the eclipse because our view was incredible. 

Light to dark. The sky turned an eerie blue as if a film had draped over everything, casting long shadows on the lawn. The birds got quiet. The temperature dropped dramatically. The chill was sudden. It felt unnatural. I tuned into the sound of the world around us. Darkness to light. This is awe. 

The solar eclipse won’t be experienced again in the Carpenter’s or my lifetime. When you think about your life like that, with the reminder that there is an ending and you will for sure meet that deadline (writer’s joke), the eclipse was more poignant than ever.

It wasn’t prepared for the emotion I would feel around the significance of this celestial event, but recent events had brought home a sincere reminder of just how sacred time is. To be sitting here, in this place, in this time, next to someone that I have loved more than half my life, and still manage to laugh with every day, is as remarkable as the eclipse itself. Two goofs kicking back and taking it all in.

I took stock of the landscape around me. How did I end up here, on my dream property at this stage of my life? Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. How did I know this move was a risk worth taking, even when some said we were crazy? We are crazy. We have chickens, for pete’s sake. I’m one of those chicken people now. And we’ll make it all work because we’ll work for it. Or we’ll do something else crazy. Stay tuned.

The day before the eclipse, I’d learned of the passing of my dear friend and former colleague, Kris Svela. Another reminder that life is short and unpredictable. Kris and I had desks next to each other for a few years, and outside of work we were buddies. I knew his family and I knew what they meant to him. Everything.

When Kris moved from our community, we kept in touch. He never missed a birthday or Christmas message. He would often send me notes about my writing. Always supportive. Always positive. Always seeing the blue sky beyond the clouds. Were he still in this realm, he too would be watching that sky with goofy glasses, laughing with his best friend Cornelia by his side, marvelling in awe at the rare celestial event. I know he would.

Awe happens when you don’t expect it, but you have to be paying attention. Don’t let life’s dramas eclipse your capacity for joy. While you’re here, be in awe of your life.

WriteOut of Her Mind