We've had a good couple days. Nothing real different or changing about them, but perhaps, my own attitude.
I've been trying all day, and will continue to do so, to be positive and kind and thankful. I can mourn on other days, today should be for unity and happiness.
We were getting ready for the Eclipse this weekend; Wash could not remember if it was a solar or lunar one so I had to keep telling/reminding him. At the same time, the more details he wanted the more I also began to process that likely this would be his last one he ever saw. We're not due for another 17 years or so; as far as I know David M. Bailey went about 15 years with GBM. I don't think Wash will have that luck.
When we were kids we made the pinhole projectors to watch the last one on; around '91 I think. This time, as adults, we actually had proper equipment; high grade welding masks.
Wash used to weld; back as a side hobby when he was in Architecture school and interning. He welded me my throne in our backyard! Talented guy; and he had his own (cheaper, basic model) mask. But, it's through a shade 10-11 so pretty good for protection.
A few months into us dating and I spotted a mask someone had not-properly thrown away and cleaned it up and gave it to Wash; it was a super nice model graded to 13-14, solar/electric so it has a sensor that turns on depending on the light intensity. I wish he had had more of a chance to use it. So, the masks have been sitting off tucked away for a few years and now we had the opportunity to use them! I set up a live channel with one of the telescopes in Cali/Grand Canyon and then we checked outside when it began.
It's a different vision and moment to be able to safely look at the sun and watch a solar eclipse. With the masks the sun took on a green tinge, and it was moving and beautiful in words that seem to escape me, at least in English.
We could see the moon, the shape, the form, the absolute feeling of utter insignificance in the universe... to me it was a Sagan appreciation moment.
Seeing the moon; our small sattelite, grow in perception to the size of the Star; the Sun... it amazes my mind in a way to place a new perspective on things. Short of firsthand going in space and seeing the Earth reduced to a blue marble, it reminded me of some of the first nights I watched the stars in a telescope. There's a wonder to seeing other worlds and objects- so far away that some are dead by the time we even see their light here, it moves my heart. To know that I am so small, so tiny a part of everything, but still wondrous and unique in my own way is moving.
We had a bunch of the neighbours come out and we shared the masks around so others could see it. Our friend Andy* came by (he's wearing the Bald Eagle mask in the pic above) and watched it with us. Met a few folks who live at the new retirement home down the block too! It was friendly, and both Wash and I got to share some astronomy lessons with those around us.
The "ring of fire" for us happened quite fast and I only caught a short glimpse. I was still moved. I know Wash enjoyed the whole thing, being with me and new friends, getting to teach others, and seeing a wondrous event for the last time.
I feel humbled. Looking at the sky going dark, the moon covering up the sun, I could image hundreds of years ago the utter fear that might inspire. The spark of human creativity as well; the need to know why it was happening, what was going on? I felt connected to every other human across the world who has seen our Earth go dark. Felt the wonder of the great WHY, felt connected to know that others were watching the very same thing all around our blue globe.
A great and utter insignificance, and yet, with every thought and feeling, a personal importance and presence.
As the Sun, Moon, Earth, and all stars exists, so too do I. My thoughts remain.
I think I have a greater appreciation for who my husband was today. Why he was so utterly devoted and passionate about space and beyond, exploration and discoveries, and the never ending pursuit of personal knowledge. His passion was certainly attractive when we met, and to some degree it remains inside him, but I wonder if yesterday when I was watching that eclipse, if perhaps as well as with the mask, I was watching it for the first time with the wonder and eyes of my husband and best friend. With the feelings of someone who wanted his cremains sent out in little rockets; with the hope to someday join the rest of the mass and energy in space.
Wash appreciated/s the Cosmos almost like no one else I've known. It comes out in his love of astronomy and his own telescope we have, as well as his love of watching and reading about space- fictional or not. He writes short stories about being in space, and they make up the bulk of our book and video libraries.
I will hope when the next solar eclipse comes around that if my husband is not standing next to me that his cremains, or even just his energy moved from the mass that Once Was is somewhere in our universe, watching the same show, seeing the stars and planets align and feeling joined to it all like I do.
For now, I think his passion lives inside me. I can hope to do it justice.
Even more so, I hope to live to see Wash in some way, sent to space.
Trivia time; Wash's most often read books? (not anymore, but before he got real sick)
-Cosmos by Sagan
-To The Stars by George Takei (autographed too!)
-The Star Trek Companion (he's got one for each series)
-The Foundation Trilogy by Asimov
-Firefly, Still Flying
The man loves the universe.