Love, Eclipses, and Other Ephemera

365 days ago, you were sit­ting at a lit­tle round table in front of me. It was a cool day, with the light of the sun com­ing through big glass win­dows, and the way you were turned cast a shad­ow on the small dim­ple on your chest. How well I came to know that expanse of skin, nev­er tak­en for grant­ed by lips or fin­ger­tips.

I was filled with noth­ing but hap­pi­ness in that moment. By that point, I planned on mar­ry­ing you one day, as I had, per­haps a lit­tle fool­ish­ly, dreamed of build­ing a life with you. The only thing left was fig­ur­ing out how to con­vince you to dream a lit­tle bit too.

muse, turned


A few things have hap­pened since we last spoke. Nothing impor­tant enough to men­tion if I ever bumped into an old lover and tried to make small talk. Except, per­haps, that my grand­moth­er passed away, Aaron and Karen are expect­ing anoth­er child, and I start­ed pur­su­ing a life­long dream of becom­ing an ama­teur astronomer.

In one class I learned the Sun’s dis­tance from the Earth is about 400 times the Moon’s dis­tance, and the Sun’s diam­e­ter is about 400 times the Moon’s diam­e­ter. It’s the fact that these ratios are approx­i­mate­ly equal that caus­es the Sun and Moon to appear the same size when the three astro­nom­i­cal objects line up, cre­at­ing the effect we observe dur­ing a total eclipse. If the Sun were any clos­er, we would­n’t see the fierce coro­na that bor­ders the shad­ow of the moon. Any fur­ther, and a ring of the Sun’s light would still be vis­i­ble. It’s a phe­nom­e­non that’s unique in our solar sys­tem, due to the sheer improb­a­bil­i­ty of these pre­req­ui­sites occur­ring.


(I did­n’t take this pic­ture.)

Eclipses are a rare phe­nom­e­non. Total eclipses even more so; they occur every 18 months, at dif­fer­ent loca­tions, and nev­er last more than a few min­utes as the shad­ow moves along the ground at over 1700 km/h.

Maybe this is why some peo­ple chase them, mak­ing pil­grim­ages to loca­tions where an eclipse is pre­dict­ed to hap­pen. One group even rent­ed a plane and flew along the dark­est part of the shad­ow cast by the moon as it trav­eled over the Earth, and arti­fi­cial­ly extend­ed an eclipse from 7 min­utes to 74 min­utes. Which, in my book, is pret­ty awe­some.

People who’ve been through an eclipse give sim­i­lar accounts of the expe­ri­ence; it looks like night in a mat­ter of min­utes, it feels like the heat is being sucked out of the ground, the ani­mals get all spooked out because they know some­thing extra­or­di­nary is hap­pen­ing.

But the Moon is also drift­ing away from the Earth at a rate of 3.8 cm a year, which means there even­tu­al­ly won’t be any more total solar eclipses. We hap­pen to be liv­ing in a time when we can still expe­ri­ence them, as future gen­er­a­tions will only have sec­ond-hand accounts from our best words and pic­tures. They won’t be able to feel the change in the atmos­phere, as the Sun hides behind the Moon for that brief moment. How for­tu­nate we are to be able to expe­ri­ence this event, which not only requires the heav­en­ly bod­ies to line up, but also requires us to be at the right place on the right plan­et at the right time.



I began to won­der what com­bi­na­tion of forces brought us there, to sit in the warmth of spring in a sushi shop down­town. Why fate had deliv­ered you to my office one morn­ing, for you to toss your head back and gig­gle and walk away after I made some corny joke at our intro­duc­tion.

We were two trav­el­ing bod­ies on our own paths that hap­pened to align for a few spins around the sun. It was a beau­ti­ful acci­dent, a gaso­line rain­bow, an expe­ri­ence as spe­cial as it was serendip­i­tous that left me for­ev­er changed.

Every pic­ture I took was to cap­ture what I feared I’d nev­er see again, and when our paths diverged, I kept look­ing at those pho­tos, won­der­ing what kept me drawn to these mem­o­ries.

Then I real­ized it was because I did­n’t want it to end. You were my eclipse, and I was a man on that plane, chas­ing a shad­ow.

Trying to live in your love a moment longer.


  1. How elo­quent you are when it comes to writ­ing about love, espe­cial­ly lost love.

    • I used to think that only sad love could be writ­ten about, but now I’m start­ing to believe there’s enough to say about hap­py love as well. I can’t tell if it’s my mind­set that’s chang­ing, or whether I’m improv­ing as a writer.

    • Thanks, Joe. I know you don’t com­ment often, so when you do it means a lot. :)

  2. This made me cry. Internally and exter­nal­ly.

    If you ever write that book I keep telling you to write, I will buy lots of copies and give them out to my best friends.

    • I’ve been writ­ing it for the last year and a half. I’ll let you know when it’s done, but don’t hold your breath. I have a feel­ing it’ll be anoth­er decade before I’m done. I promise you’ll be the first to know when it’s fin­ished.

  3. This is so you. A delight­ful intel­lec­tu­al sprint teth­ered to a lead­en sym­pho­ny of emo­tion.
    I had a sim­i­lar expe­ri­ence, strange­ly, on a mag­i­cal ver­nal equinox day once.

    I won­der if those days are cursed?


    • I real­ly do enjoy writ­ing these entries. Too bad the right inspi­ra­tion is so rare. Although per­haps this is what makes them spe­cial too.

  4. what a haunt­ing­ly beau­ti­ful entry..

    the stuff you write about love always stays with me and gives me insight into my own expe­ri­ences..

    thanks man :)

    • That makes me hap­py because you always give me anoth­er per­spec­tive on my own expe­ri­ences too.

  5. Everyone is being so sap­py. This made me hun­gry! :)

    • Admittedly, that pic­ture makes me hun­gry too. It was the first time I ever tried a Philadelphia roll, and the lit­tle bit of fat­ty taste was deli­cious. Now I order Philly rolls when­ev­er I have sushi.

  6. The facts and fig­ures make me dizzy. Your com­mand of the English lan­guage is com­plete­ly sexy and that’s a fact. Go fig­ure.

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