The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, May 30, 1979, Page 14, Image 14

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    Pilgrimage to Eclipse
February 26, 1979: Oregon
Four a.m. I began a pilgrimage. Entering the freeway was
a merger of myself with a procession headed east. All
pilgrims became one in the dark. Countless pairs of scarlet
lights flickered along a winding path. Eastward. On and on I
went in search of—Eclipse.
As the sky lightened, I left the caravan. I would experien­
ce individually a communal event. On the road to Bend,
two or three miles south of The Dalles and near the crest of
rolling hills, I found a convenient stopping place. The
panorama of plowed hillsides girdled with grass and rib-'
boned with a highway invited participation in a solar liturgy.
The clouds parted in a gesture of hospitality to those who
came that way. A gift from the gods in “God’s Country.”
With this benediction, I waited. The time of the eclipse drew
near; excitement mounted. Not the carnival, Woodstock
excitement of Maryhill’s Stonehenge. This was a quiet,
privately shared intensity. A sense of power, not magic,
During the movement of the moom over the sun, an eerie
dimly bright daylight-darkness evolved. Untimely shadows
lengthened. The world was dark in the midst of day’s
brightness. Through mylar-veiled eyes, I watched the sun
become the moon; completing the moon’s cycle in minutes.
Full to cresent and back again, the sun-moon paused mid­
cycle for two miracle minutes. Totality!
Looking now with naked eyes, I beheld an awesome, in­
credible sight. Above, in a midnight sky was the black circle
of sun with its gem sprinkled crown. A rivalry of diamond­
chip planets accented the sun’s glory.
In the darkness the south became the east. Toward the
distant southern hills, dawn’s first light spread across the
horizon. Totality was ending. Turning my back to the sun, I
found another offering awaited. Rippled shadows, like
waves of wind on beach grass, moved over the hillside. And
the air was still.
Time to leave. Coming down from the hills, timeless
pilgrims dispersed. I left filled in mind and soul.
Homeward. With each mile, the weather worsened.
Clouds hung low in the Columbia River Gorge. Miracle’s
end brought misty-eyed skies; thinking of those who hadn’t
shared in nature’s gift. Finally a steady rain of tears for
truckers who kept on truckin’ straight through Totality. Two
minutes in a lifetime acknowledged solely by turning on
headlights. I-was sad for those who could not be there. But
most of all, I was sad for those who passed through and
were not touched.
Story by Janice Bachman Green
Photos by Eric Holstrom
clackamas quarterly revi®