The solar eclipse in middle Tennessee

A few months ago the buzz around town was the Predators playing the Stanley Cup. Now what’s cooler than ice is actually hotter than hot, literally. The sun! On August 21st the sun will be blocked by the moon for a period of time in what’s called a total solar eclipse. How this natural occurrence can be predicted is beyond me but I do think it’ll actually happen.

Solar sunglasses are pretty much sold out all across town. I, personally, have been to Kroger, Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, and the public library, all without success. I’ve heard there are still glasses available at the city’s science center so if I can score a pair from there, I’ll add a pic at the bottom of this post.

The news has been covering the upcoming event in most, if not all, broadcasts, adding specials here and there throughout the weeks leading up to the event. Now I’m sure we can all agree that starting on the evening of August 21st images will be flooding the internet. I’m sure there will be video clips, too. My goal on that day is to record something, or take pictures of something less obvious. Maybe time-lapse of the crowds watching from a park? Or a time-lapse the Nashville skyline? I haven’t fully committed to one idea yet, but I’m hoping to get something good on that day, and also get a look at the eclipse myself, that is, if I can get my hands on the hot commodity called solar eclipse sunglasses!

UPDATE: I got a pair of sunglasses from the Adventure Science Center, thanks to a dog-sitting client!
img_20170816_091825400.jpg

-Out of the Wilderness

Advertisements

They Call Him Flipper

In California, St. Teresa, or the East coast of Viet Nam, it really doesn’t matter, I love the beach! There’s an exciting and mysterious attraction to the ocean, the sand and all the creatures in the deep. Here in middle Tennessee, many folks will offer up a lake as an acceptable alternative, but to that I’ll shout, “Exhibit A!” Here’s the Exhibit A: when’s the last time there was breaking news about a lake creature found thousands of feet deep? Exhibit B: when have you seen photos of exotic locations on the coast of Tennessee? Never! Exhibit B Attachment 1: Tennessee doesn’t have a coast. Exhibit B Attachment 2: even if Tennessee had a coast, you’d have to drive through legions of University of Tennessee fans, with their car flags and door magnets just to get there. Slam #1: I can think of fifteen things I rather do than talk about the University of Tennessee. And ten more rather than the SEC! (that was Slam #2)

The beach is a much happier thought, and much more mysterious, thus Exhibit C: ocean explorers are finding new species every few months. Side Note 1: the funny thing is the species have been there all along, we just haven’t been able to get to where they are. As technology advances, so does discovery. Segue 1: Personal discovery.

I go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico a couple of times a year with my dad. Honestly, I only enjoy the actual fishing part of it when I catch fish. Most of what I enjoy is the unknown. Boating two hours away from the shore will put you right in the middle of the wild. I’ve seen sea turtles, sharks, manta rays, man-o-wars, manatees, crocodiles, and my all-time favorite… porpoises. Side note 2: Growing up in the states united in the East compelled me to fall in love with three things: seafood, the sun, and the Miami Dolphins.

Segue 2: the Miami Dolphins were named after the mammal in which I intend to elaborate on. Dolphins are very similar to porpoises and I’m not going to school you on the differences. In North Florida, we called them porpoises. Proposal 1: In all I’ve seen of ocean life, these creatures are the only ones that choose fun. On a large ocean liner, they’ll swim speedily at the bow. Behind a large troller they’ll dart in and out of the wake. Or off in the distance, they’ll jump high into a flip. Years ago I had the rare privilege of watching a porpoise swim upside down underneath a small watercraft I was on. It was amazing, amazing! I still remember the color of the belly and how excited I was to witness this.

 

Look at a porpoise in the face and you’ll swear they’re smiling.

Proposal 2: It’s as if all the other creatures of the sea act out of survival instinct, while the porpoise looks for ways to be happy. Analogy 1: Sea creatures are like the cart rides at Disney World. They turn a little to the left and right, but they’re locked on a track to go one direction. Instinct is the big honkin’ metal bar underneath the cart that keeps it on track. The carts, or fish, are slave to it. The porpoise? The porpoise is a Volkswagon Beatle named Herbie. They are free to go anywhere and do anything, and sometimes, they even go bananas! That was Corny Reference 1. But it’s true. Porpoises have instinct, but no metal bar. I like to think that they’re aware of our happiness with them and that’s why they jump out of the water, swim upside down underneath our boats, and help Sandy and Bud catch a group of criminals… because we like them and they like us.

The Nashville Flood, May 2010

If there never was a reason to love this city, there is now. What I’ve witnessed in the kindness of people here is not something I’ve seen before, and I’ve been through my share of tough storms (former resident of hurricane-prone Florida, including Hurricane Andrew). A quick recap- Saturday it started raining. Saturday afternoon it was still raining. Sunday rolled around and brought the same amount of sunshine Saturday had. More rain. It finally slowed down Sunday evening. And like a dog that comes inside after chewing up the garden hose, Monday came around with sunny skies acting like nothing never happened. Come on, Monday! Have some class. Historic flooding and you show up with sunny skies and calm wind? You’re a punk, Monday. Along with Saturday and Sunday, all three of you are real punks! With all the rain and wind and now gigantic loss. But I tell you what, the hearts of the people here are unforgettable to see. I’ve heard of areas turning down volunteers because there were too many! My first day to lend a hand was Wednesday. My friend Bill and I made our way to West Nashville and helped a family rid their house of all the appliances, waterlogged dressers, cabinets, clothing, pictures, bedding, and various other household goods. Bill and I were the second and third to arrive at this house, and before I knew it, there had to be about twenty people in the house with trashbags separating the salvagable from the loss, the jewelry, family pictures, sweeping water out of the kitchen, taking bag after bag out to the roadside. At one point, Bill and I were asked to walk two houses down the street to help move a refrigerator, washer, and dryer. There were four guys already there. I have no doubt three were former military because they were all talking loudly about what we should do, each absolutely confident their idea was the best. So we had three plans for each task, and the fourth guy, Orlando, must’ve bore the brunt of these three chiefs all morning long. I was glad Bill and I could step in and take some heat off Orlando. During one of these “brainstorming sessions,” I took the liberty of relieving myself in the backyard. I decided a few more ounces of liquid wasn’t going to do any more damage to this house. About thirty minutes and twenty-five ideas later, we got the appliances out the door and into the front yard. Back to the first house we went. Once it was completely empty we walked down the street to find that devastation was at every single house. Guess what else was at every single house? People. Folks are so caring around here, even people I don’t like were volunteering! You know the people I’m talking about, the ones that somehow steer the conversation back to themselves? I won’t get into specifics about this person, but when we’re there to empty out a family’s flooded house, I don’t necessarily need to know how sick you were a month ago, how far you drove to be here, how old you are, or how you can’t find the guy with the clipboard. But know this, reader, she was there. She was spending her day by helping people that needed help. And remember when I said Bill and I were the second and third to arrive at this house? Well, she was the first. That’s pretty awesome.

The easiest way to start making a difference is simply show up.

So if you’re now asking what the people in Nashville are like, wonder no more: they show up… in masses!