As I waited to call the Old O and get the curmudgeon exclusive, I sat outside with two of my best friends, and their great dog. We had macaroon and chocolate chip cookies and French apple brandy, Calvados, as our quasi eclipse brunch.
I surveyed Youngs Bay, Saddle Mountain, Tillamook Head and beyond. The sun was shining and barely a trace of a cloud appeared in the sky. It became obvious: a perfect day on the Oregon Coast to observe the eclipse, dialed up by the Sun Gods. There would be no rain on their parade. Not even drizzle! My Oregon Gods had failed me and now I would soon hear singing from Whoville and feel enraged.
Then it began, slowly: the invisible moon moving into alignment, the partial darkening, the strange,crisp reflective light, the odd behavior from birds, the temperature dropping, the increasing silence. We donned our special glasses and watched the subtle show, the Ms. Pac Man in the sky. I started writing a few notes. I felt a tinge in my heart. Perhaps it was growing a tiny bit. The dog got up and came over to me. I gave him a chunk of a macaroon.
I called the Old O. It rang a long time before the bartender answered. I greeted her and gave a quick briefing. I asked her her name.
“Okay, Lena, can you help me out?”
My pen and notebook were primed to record curmudgeon history.
“I’ll check and see for you.”
I heard a muffled asking of the regulars.
“Everyone’s going outside, me too.”
“How many are in there?”
“Nine or ten.”
“What are the drinking?”
I ended the call and laughed. I put my glasses back on, sipped the Calvados, petted the dog, informed my friends of my OTA findings, and stared at the sun. Wondrous. Exhilarating. Atavistic. Far out.
In the distance, I heard clapping and cheering. My heart grew and grew and then blew out of my chest and it felt pretty damn good.
Perhaps my Oregon Gods had answered my prayers after all. We had all stopped and looked up together at something that brought us all together.
To quote Gandalf from Lord Of the Rings, “Hope is kindled.”
The next day, Astoria was socked in with fog and drizzle ruled the landscape.
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