“Total” talk of the town

Published 3:20 pm Friday, August 18, 2017


Something is coming in the near future.

A single conversation has swept over the nation at its approach.

“Are you going to watch the eclipse?” may be the number one question in the United States right now. Of course, there is no way to prove that. It certainly has been the most frequent question I’ve heard in recent days in Clanton.

But let’s not let that overshadow the focus here.

That’s the moon’s job.

On Aug. 21 at approximately 1:27 p.m. in Nashville, Tennessee—which, according to NASA’s eclipse2017.nasa.gov website, is a rough estimate for the closest location to Clanton for prime viewing—the earth, moon and sun will be in perfect alignment, and a solar eclipse will dazzle onlookers.

In passing between the earth and the sun, the moon will momentarily block the sun, darkening the sky with a brief reign over the daytime it typically falls subject to when it slinks beneath the horizon each dawn.

Totality, which is the moment of complete coverage, is expected to last 2 minutes and 41 seconds, according to msn.com.

Here at The Clanton Advertiser, the office has been abuzz with plans to purchase proper viewing equipment, such as sun-safe glasses and tickets out of town, and find the best locations for witnessing history.

Sure, eclipses happen regularly, faithful to the astronomical algorithms they adhere to. But a total solar eclipse positioned to be viewable within all borders of the U.S., coast to coast, is rare.

According to greatamericaneclipse.com, the last time all of North America was provided such an opportunity for observing a total solar eclipse was in 1918.

That was almost 100 years ago.

No wonder the anticipation is so immense.

But some people believe the coming solar eclipse, positioned specifically over the U.S., is cause for concern.

Since ancient times, the phenomenon incited much discomfort, even fear, in many cultures.

It was believed to be an omen, or warning—depending on the culture—of impending judgment for the nation that viewed it.

To these cultures, a solar eclipse either initiated premonition or introduced opportunity for repentance.

For some people, this belief still remains, grimly fostered by current events.

Biblical references of solar eclipses recalled to the minds of some Bible Belt dwellers may be stimulating extra time spent on the knees on behalf of a nation finding itself all too quickly in the shadowlands.

A total solar eclipse once marked the greatest moment of salvation for the entire world.

The heart of Christ beat its last, and all of nature responded. The earth was cast into utter momentary darkness, as the hope for eternal life in a brightened world finalized for Christ’s followers.

Darkness fell, slain, and the light of life rose.

A total eclipse of the heart of broken mankind?

What of the heart of a nation?

Perhaps it is mere conjecture. But would a few more American hearts lifting prayers for a nation be such a bad thing?

You can join them here, in the land of the peaches.

There is a sure hope to embrace and a sheer wonder to behold on Aug. 21.