Camp Franklin

Mel & Iris watch the solar eclipse with fellow eclipsers in Franklin, KY
Dear Reader, can be a marvelous gift when life doesn’t unfold as planned.
No sooner had I backed our car under the shade of a giant oak, opened our trunk and dug into the cooler did a perfect stranger appear.
           "Do you have solar glasses?” the bearded guy asked. “We have extras.”
           Ravenous for chilled peaches and cucumbers, I could hardly believe my ears and eyes. He held two pair of “safe” glasses that resembled those on the Internet.
My husband and I glanced to one another, my slotted spoon and white paper promptly forsaken. The totality of the solar eclipse wasn’t lost on us after all.
“As a matter of fact, we don’t,” I confessed.
Our fellow eclipser nodded to his buddy who stood outside their vehicle, a blue SUV to our left. A young woman read her cell phone in their air-conditioned car.
Carl, Corrie, Brian

“I tagged along with my friends. I’m from Massachusetts. They’re from Vermont,” he said.
A field of soybeans blanketed the background in a scene that promised to fulfill the desire of our hearts.
          “What do we owe you?” I asked and accepted his offer.
          He stepped closer. “Nothing. They came in a package of ten, and there’s only the three of us.” He paused and peeked into our cooler with a grin. “But you could trade some of your food if you’d like.”
           “Oh, I’m sorry. That wasn’t very hospitable of me,” I said.
           He laughed. “Hospitable? I was joking.”
          The ice broken, we exchanged names and hometowns.
Brian’s friends Carl and Corrie joined the conversation and fun, as did our Camp Franklin neighbors from Lexington, KY. More than five hundred equipped eclipsers set up chairs, tripods, and card tables, the mood growing Woodstockian, sans the heavy metal and drugs.
I passed our homegrown fruit and vegetables around. We played with our glasses and cameras. Joyful expectation lit every face.
Caught by surprise, Corrie stood before me, head tilted, wearing gag glasses with big eyeballs. “See what happens to your eyes when you look at the sun without proper eclipse glasses?”
Iris & Mel have fun with Corrie's glasses

I cracked up.
“It worked! She got it!” Corrie said to her companions.
To the minute, the celestial and terrestrial elements of darkness and light followed their predictable and super-natural path, from the moon’s first bite out of the sun’s right side to total eclipse.
Camp Franklin fell silent in cool, mysterious darkness, the sun’s corona a ring around the moon. Then, the diamond and a burst of cheers.
Yes, the miraculous moment happened as NASA had planned. What we hadn’t anticipated, though, was holy communion with humankind and the heavens on the edge of a farmer’s soybean field.
In retrospect, I thank Copernicus and Galileo, fellow stargazers who paved the way for this and future encounters with the Word’s Creation—unspeakable gifts of life.
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. John 1:5