Are You Tanked Up?

Photo by Karl Magnuson on Unsplash

Cleveland lies in the path of the April 8th solar eclipse, and everyone’s a-twitter, including Twitter. The Guardians’ home opener also happens today, and the big women’s college basketball championship games were here in Cleveland this weekend. Traffic will be snarled! Pets will be terrorized! Heedless viewers will be blinded! States of emergency have been declared!

Kerr County, Texas, officials are expecting an influx of double or triple the resident population. They have warned their citizens, “Make sure your vehicles are tanked up, that you have sufficient grocery supplies, that your prescriptions are filled and that you are stocked up on provisions for any animals in your care.”

Alas, I read these warnings too late here in Cleveland, and have neither tanked up nor stocked up, nor shopped, nor filled. Having failed my family, desolate in my home, I’m diverting my mind from the oncoming disaster by exploring the roots and meanings of the word eclipse.

The Latin eclipsis derives from the Greek ekleipsis, from a verb meaning “to leave from.” Today, the sun will leave, in effect. Eclipse means “to fail to appear” or “to abandon an accustomed place,” terms which seem to blame the sun (in this case) unfairly.

Perhaps sometimes you forget which is a solar eclipse and which is a lunar eclipse. The heavenly body that disappears names the event. Because the sun, this time, is abandoning its accustomed place, this is a solar eclipse. The moon is eclipsing it.

Think about the word’s usage in other contexts. The musician Livingston Taylor, for example, has been eclipsed by his more famous brother James. That’s a Livingston eclipse. Remember that astronomically the heavenly body that disappears names the eclipse. In a lunar eclipse, the moon (Livingston) fails to appear while it’s hidden (“eclipsed”) by its brother Earth (James).

I enjoyed reading this informative article in Time. You might want to peruse it in solidarity with us in Cleveland from about 2:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time to its totality around 3:13 and beyond. Send a little prayer that we have enough to eat, our medications hold out, and that Roxie’s provisions are sufficient for the duration.

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2 Responses to Are You Tanked Up?

  1. Sarah Becker says:

    We 93%ers in Boston had it easy. Everyone left town for Buffalo or Newfoundland, and we could see the partial total eclipse with no cloud cover from the safety of our own back yards. So I’m tanked to hear about everyone else’s problems!

  2. Roger Talbott says:

    Those of us recovering from the disaster of last week’s earthquake in NYC, feel your pain.

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