We didn’t have special glasses. We used two metal colanders as pinhole cameras and noted that the images through the round drainage holes turned from periods to commas as the eclipse progressed. We sat outside and it got a little cooler, a little greyer (which was eerie) but not dark. It’s not a month in which we hear much birdsong at all so the quiet wasn’t unexpected. A hummingbird worked in the zinnias. One in our household slept.
Yet we do live in perilous times. Listening to the madman south of the border makes this moment in the Odyssey ring true. It’s Theoklymenos, the seer, in Book Twenty (the Fitzgerald translation), foretelling the death of the suitors:
Oh lost sad men, what terror is this you suffer?
Night shrouds you to the knees, your heads, your faces;
dry retch of death runs round like fire in sticks;
your cheeks are streaming; these fair walls and pedestals
are dripping crimson blood. And thick with shades
is the entry way, the courtyard thick with shades
passing athirst toward Erebos, in the dark,
the sun is quenched in heaven, foul mist hems us in…