I went rowing with my husband during the eclipse, along with a few other people in the rowing club. That made it feel more like an adventure. We brought our eclipse glasses into the boat and, as the light faded, we stopped rowing from time to time and watched the eclipse’s progress. it wasn’t total where I live, but it got dark enough to look almost like nightfall was approaching.

Two pairs of eclipse glasses on a wooden table.

On the river, we had a great view of how confused the wildlife got during the eclipse. Birds flew up to trees and wires to roost, cicadas started singing, and ducks and geese climbed out of the river and started waddling off to wherever they go at night. Then the light started coming back and many of the birds just flew around in circles looking totally befuddled. Their little bird brains couldn’t deal with the fact that it had been getting dark, but all of a sudden it wasn’t anymore.

As civilized humans who spend most of our time indoors, we don’t have that sensitivity to the natural world—at least not consciously. If we hadn’t known there was an eclipse, we might easily have looked out the window and assumed the dark sky was just some clouds blowing over. Then we’d have gone back to work and thought nothing more about it.

I wonder, though, if maybe there’s a primitive part of our brains that gets just as confused as those birds about all the unnatural things in our modern environment. Maybe our inner troglodyte peeks out every now and again, muttering to itself in a very worried tone, “Hey, what are all these bright lights in the middle of the night when it’s supposed to be dark? And why are we all staring at little glowing screens instead of looking at normal stuff like trees and fields? Eek! Too freaky! I can’t cope!”

Of course, there are many other reasons why we have so much anxiety nowadays. Mainly I think it’s because the world has been changing so fast that it can be hard to keep track of what’s going on around us, whether natural or otherwise. More time spent in nature surely would do us all some good, though.


  1. That is cool that you were on the lake during the eclipse! Yes, you are very right, being out in nature is a natural stress reliever and antidepressant! Have a great day!

  2. That’s awesome you got to see the eclipse! We live no where near the path so we live vicariously through everyone else’s photos and paper glasses 🙂 I was recently on a southwest flight and, you know how sometimes the flight attendants have a good sense of humor over the loud speaker – he asked us all to look up from our phones and turn to the person next to us and say hello, in a funny way. Everyone laughed and followed his instructions and it felt good to have an excuse to make small talk when I would otherwise be task-mastering or facebooking on my phone. I completely agree that we tend to lose touch with our natural surroundings and the people around us. It is nice to be reminded to check-in every once in a while.

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