Observations from the great eclipse of 2017

By TIM BEELAND,

What in the world will we do now that the great eclipse of 2017 is over? I suppose the national news media will have to go to work like we little folks in the community news media and start digging up something of interest to start filling their time slots. I hate it for them!
I have to admit, I looked at it. I looked at the eclipse with my naked eye. I had been practicing all weekend how I would quickly catch a glimpse of it and then divert my attention before the sun’s rays melted my retinas. 
Right out in front of the newspaper office on Smith, Ave. in Forest, Mississippi I cast my eyes to the heavens and broke every rule that has been broadcast on television, the radio, and printed in the papers for weeks now. And I survived. Practice makes perfect, my plan worked, and I can still see.
I wish we had been at home so we could see what the cows in the pasture across the road did. I wonder if they laid down? They practiced all weekend too. Actually, they practiced all week long last week, bellowing, and bellowing, and bellowing. I’m certain it had something to do with the eclipse.
I also wonder what our dogs did. All three of them have been practicing their entire lives for this event. You never really knew when they might start practicing, but when they did they all joined together howling at the moon. I know they were practicing for the eclipse because lots of times there was no moon, nor anything else for them to be howling at. Sunday they were really trying to get in some last minute  rehearsals.
I wonder if they did as good a job howling at the real thing as they did in practice. It must have gone pretty good because they have already started  practicing for the next one.
Out in the country we’ve got a whole bunch of birds. I suppose it is because I keep feeding them dried grub worms and corn on the cob. The Cardinals love pecking the corn off the cob. I wonder if they tucked their heads under their wings when the moon blocked out the sun.
I did listen for the sound of the pair of morning doves that live behind the office, but didn’t hear anything from them nor any of the other birds in town. We had been told that the birds would be chirping when the eclipse began eclipsing. Perhaps they were just too confused or perhaps I got that backwards.
The stray dog in the street didn’t seem bothered by the solar event. He might have enjoyed the few minutes of cooler air. It’s easy to detect something like cooler air here in central Mississippi in the Dog Days of August and, of course, he is a dog?
To be honest, I did see spots for a couple of seconds after my naked eye approach, but fortunately for us here at the newspaper office, there was a back up plan. Perhaps I should say fortunately for me, here at the newspaper office since I was the only one in the newspaper office on Monday afternoon when the moon blocked out the sun.
But that’s okay too, since I am the only one in the newspaper office old enough to remember the days when we used film to produce newspaper pages, making me the only one that remembered that there were some old negative sheets in the back that could be sandwiched together to view stated event.
Worked like a charm! I guess. At this writing in the midst of the great eclipse of 2017 I could still see just fine. By the time you are reading this, however, the old retinas might have dissolved or whatever was supposed to happen to them. If so you’ll read about it next week.
In the end this is what I observed. The sun is very bright, even when the moon is in front of it. The temperature does drop. It did seem very still and very quiet in town. That may be because everyone was trying not to look at the sun while looking at the sun. And, one of the morning doves did light on the power line and looked around in confusion, if birds do such a thing. One other observance, the phones did not ring all afternoon, but I’m sure the eclipse had nothing to do with that. Or, I think I am anyway!
I suppose we’ll have to wait until the next time the moon blocks the sun in these parts to measure the accuracy of my findings. The year 2024, I believe.

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