We had no eclipse glasses
but our neighbors had some
given to them by our other neighbors
the ones whose politics are the antitheses of ours
the ones who send my husband propaganda
denying climate change and who complain
about lax discipline in schools and grow furious
when university students protest because
really they should be studying instead.
Those were the neighbors who sent away for glasses
Safe For Direct Solar Viewing and gave them
to our other neighbors who invited us over
because the kids were in school
and wouldn’t be using theirs.
We sat out on patio chairs in the yard
and drank ice water and ate grapes
and put on our cool cardboard glasses
and then gasped in amazement
because they completely blacked out
everything but the little crescent sun.
Then our neighbor’s cousin and her boyfriend
came out and more chairs were unfolded
and there weren’t enough cardboard glasses
so we shared them around
and everyone was amazed in turn
Then because my husband refused to believe
that trees will make pinhole cameras
I had to point out the hundreds of little crescents
on the ground under the oaks.
I mentioned that colanders will do the same
so our neighbor leapt up and ran to get one
along with some cardboard
and there were dozens of tiny crescents
and we were all amazed together.
This is how the world could be
and sometimes actually is
and so I wonder:
What if we all went outside
at 10 am every day
prepared to be amazed? I mean
trees are always photosynthesizing
which is pretty darned amazing
and then there are insects and birds
and flowers and pollination
and fruiting and death and decay and rebirth
and really if you think about it
the whole world is full
of really quite astonishing phenomena.
And what if our amazement
bridged our differences?
What if the people with whom we
most vehemently disagreed
gave us just the thing we most needed
just when we needed it most?
What if we shared the gifts,
becoming ourselves the givers?
What if we trusted in the value
of the knowledge of others, and
leapt up to help them share it?
May we all share our gifts.
May we all listen to others.
May we all be amazed in turn.
May we all be amazed together.
This is my prayer of thanks.