Believe it or not, the recent solar eclipse occurred only one month ago Thursday.
And if superstitious, one might be inclined to think back to the days when people considered eclipses as a forbearer of great change or events to come.
If you simply look to the weather in the past several weeks, you would be hard-pressed to argue against this instinct. Since Aug. 21, we have experienced multiple hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires and even a potential tsunami.
Over this time the Weather Channel became the news channel of choice for many — streaming live feeds of weather events from around the world simultaneously. And we are not done yet.
Thursday brought news of Hurricane Maria striking the Caribbean Islands — the second major hurricane to visit the region in nearly as many weeks. Hurricane Irma passed through on the way to Florida earlier in the month.
And for the record, Hurricane Harvey — the monster who came to Texas and overstayed his welcome — occurred only 3 weeks ago.
We bring this up only to raise the point that weather is a dangerous and unpredictable force. When Harvey came ashore in Texas, paused for a couple days before returning to the Gulf of Mexico before continuing its journey across water toward Galveston County, we thought we had seen everything. Then Harvey, due to a high-pressure system, parked itself over our communities, dumping rainfall amounts measuring in feet instead of inches. Flooding touched homes and people thought to be safe from such dangers.
And as locals began the monumental task of rebuilding — and people throughout the nation responded with generous donations — Hurricane Irma came ashore in Florida. Now, in what could be considered a blink of the eye on a calendar hanging in your kitchen, Hurricane Maria is roaring across the island communities of the Caribbean, dealing a crushing blow to Puerto Rico on Thursday.
But the list of nature’s historic showing is not limited to the oceans. On land, Mexico is experiencing the second devastating earthquake in as many weeks. And before this, fires were raging in Montana as if almost a precursor to what the future could hold.
The Native American Indian tribes carried an interesting attitude toward eclipses. According to the Farmer’s Almanac “an eclipse was simply nature’s way of ‘checking in’ with the sky, perhaps a sort of cleaning house. The Sun and the Moon temporarily leave their places in the sky to see if things are going all right on our planet Earth.”
We would hope if the sun and moon came to visit they would see, among all the pain and destruction, the people of the world putting down their differences and coming together to help one another after these terrible disasters.
Despite the loss of property and life, we have also been reminded of the heroic efforts and generosity toward one another not only in Galveston County, but the globe over. But we didn’t need an eclipse to tell us that, did we?
• Leonard Woolsey