Doom hubris

Well, sports fans, here it is: the one and only comic I actually managed to draw in advance of my residency, and therefore the one and only comic you’ll get for the next few weeks (you may have noticed there wasn’t one last week either; moderate spacing!). I didn’t intend this strip to be thematic in any way, but I suppose you could relate it to the hubris of looking straight at the eclipse.

Here at Jentel, in Wyoming, everything is lovely so far. I’m not going to spend much time writing here, because I have other fish to fry, but I will re-create below something I wrote up for a friend about my experience of the eclipse totality, which luckily we were quite close to. I wonder if I would’ve found the whole thing quite as remarkable in other circumstances – I guess it is and always will be hard to say. But it felt like we were at the edge of the world, waiting for that same world’s end, and that was a surprisingly wonderful feeling.

So without further ado, and apparently without any proper capitalization, here is my response to an inquiry about “what the totality was like”:

“it was amazing! my circumstances were pretty ideal, in that I was already at
Jentel, so we only had to drive about 1.5 hours (no traffic at all), and found a big,
open space with lots of hills. everyone just pretty much picked a hill, so no two
groups were stuck together, and the vista went forever. it was hot when we got
there, but after the eclipse started the temperature dropped pretty noticeably.
(though the wind also picked up, so there was a big of back-and-forth about “is
this the eclipse?? or are we imagining it??” but it definitely was.) the light started
to change, getting silvery and odd around 75%, and we were all very anxious
about what the darkness would look like oncoming, having read that annie dillard
essay that was making the rounds. at about 90% my hackles started going up and
I got really bouncy and excited, and it looked like sunset, but without the sun, you
know, going down. the closest feeling I can describe is anticipating a big thunder
storm, the feeling of darkness bearing down, wind blowing in, something very
not usual happening.

the last bit of sun crescent got a bit red, and then we looked in the distance
and could see the dark coming – and then it was dark. not total blackness, but
uncanny dimness that sat over everything and just felt electric and exciting. the
corona was WILD. you could see it dancing, like fire, but white and green and red.
the center, where the sun should be, was totally black, though sadly my phone
did not render this at all. (I threw it down immediately and just looked and looked
and jumped around and shouted joyfully.) when the sun started peeking back
through (so quick!), you could see it tip over the top of the moon, and the quality
of light was different than it had been just before the eclipse – at 99% oncoming
eclipse it was silver, but at 99% declining eclipse it was (at least to me, in my
experience) bright white. not like a sunrise but a sun-spill.

after it was over I felt much calmer and more peaceful, probably because I was no
longer in wild anticipation, and was much better able to appreciate the partial
eclipse. a bird flew over singing its head off in what sounded like total relief. a cow
nearby could not have given less of a damn.”

So there you go: cows don’t give a damn. (And on another note, I finished my copy edits, so Invitation to a Bonfire is one step closer to being a real book!)