The Great American Eclipse and Circles in the Sand

Watching Eclipse, Descanso Gardens, La Canada, California, 8.21.17

When Jim and I watched the eclipse August 21 from Hope Rock high above Descanso Gardens with our friend Brian, friends of ours were in Oregon watching the same grand show. The first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. in nearly a century had created anticipation and enthusiasm throughout our country.

Regardless of where we viewed the eclipse, we experienced delight and awe as the sun disappeared bite by bite as if the moon was devouring a delicious chocolate chip cookie when it glided between the earth and sun.

We lent our ISO-CE eclipse sunglasses to others in the Gardens who didn’t have them so they could enjoy the view too. What was extra special about the Great American Eclipse was not just the marvel happening above us but the joy of witnessing it with others.

Adventurous Chris drove to Oregon and hiked above the Snake River in Hells Canyon. Along with a French astronomer and other interested campers, he enjoyed the moon shadow cast across the Snake River. This QuickTime video was shot looking southeast on the Oregon side of the river. Idaho is in the background. He captured the shadow with his Canon Power Shot SD8SOIS. You can hear the excitement, the wind and the exhilaration. Their viewing highlights included seeing solar flares, Venus, Mars and experiencing a 20- degree drop in the temperature. 

Our friends, Janice and Dick, viewed the eclipse in Lebanon, Oregon at Cheadle Lake Park. Driving two hours in the dark from Rosenberg, Oregon, they were first in line to enter the park. Four hours later they were thrilled to watch the moon “eat” the sun until it was dark again for two magical minutes.

Circles in the Sand, Bandon, Oregon. Photo by Janice Gilden

On the drive home, they stopped in Bandon, Oregon and were surprised to find sand circles on a beach. Artist Denny Dyke creates the “circles in the sand” and designs a new maze each day for 5 days during each week of summer. Janice took the photos with her iPhone 5C.

Volunteers help curve the labyrinth and people walk the twists and turns of the sandy path, perhaps reflecting on where they are truly going. About two hours after the sand circle is completed, it’s washed to sea as the tide returns. And a new one is created the next day.

The eclipse offered so many things: celestial spectacle, beauty, wonder, and a sense of universal order as the earth, moon and sun align…and, for some, welcoming sand beneath their feet on a beautiful beach in Oregon.






14 thoughts on “The Great American Eclipse and Circles in the Sand

  1. The joy of experiencing it with others is what I’ve heard about the most.

    John and I were in Glastonbury, England at the time of the eclipse. I did see a total solar eclipse once, in 1999. I was in Glastonbury at the time. I did not plan this coincidence.

  2. Amazing video. Was fun to hear the excitement as day turned to night on our amazing little planet in this ginormous solar system. Loved the pic of you and Jim. Wish you hadn’t mentioned the chocolate chip cookie thing–now I want one. Great writing, as usual.

    1. Great blog…and pic of you and Jim. Enjoyed the labyrinth on sea shore and eclipse experience of others. It really was special.

      Karen Jarnagin

  3. Oh Susan! This is a thrilling post. First, Hope Rock means so much to me. Duane and I sat and meditated there at the time of my nephew’s celebration of life service in NY. When my sister was diagnosed with cancer, I went there often to pray. You and I have been there to pray or meditate as well. It is a holy place, in a way. And seeing you too there made me so happy. What a wonderful couple.

    As for the content; I love the sand circles, intriguing. And Chris’s video is really illustrative of the excitement and wonder of that experience.

    All and all this is an antidote to the horrible news that comes across our airways daily. Celebrating what is right and beautiful in the world is a much better place to put our attention. Thank you!

  4. Loved the picture of you and Jim and the eclipse wasn’t as fantastic here as in the Western part of the country but we enjoyed the news and watched pictures taken by professionals of the sun and its disappearance. Love you and Jim
    your cousin Marge and Henry

  5. Hi Susan,
    What a beautiful post. The photograph of you and Jim is wonderful, so glad you shared it. I have a lot of family that lives in Oregon, and the eclipse was quite an experience for them. My parents watched it from their front yard. I was traveling and shared the experience with my fellow travelers in the parking lot of our hotel in Woodland, California.

    Bandon is one of our family’s favorite spots on the Oregon coast. We visited it many times on summer vacations. I didn’t know about the labyrinth in the sand, such a wonderful and beautiful idea.

  6. Sue,
    thank you sooo much for your posts. You capture the beauty of nature all around us in an exotic way.
    Although I don’t post much I love your photos and videos. Love to you and Jim

  7. Amazing experience to watch the daylight fade away during the eclipse and then quickly return. Though the light change was less dramatic viewed from La Crescenta than what my sister and her husband experienced in Salem, OR, it was a thrill to see so many people excited about this event. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Amazing experience to watch the daylight fade away the quickly return. Though light change was less dramatic than those who viewed it near the path of the eclipse, it was thrilling.

  8. Dear Susan,
    Such a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing the video of the eclipse (thrilling) and the enchanting photo of the sand circles. And most of all, the photo of you and Jim, which warms my heart.
    Love, Sue Z

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