Everyday is God

“There’s no place to go to find God and no place not to go…Everyday life is where God is most active and where holiness is to be found. As Jesus Christ said, ‘the Kingdom of God is within you.’  Luke 17:21”

Fr Thomas Keating

Eagle Cap Wilderness
Eagle Cap Wilderness

 

God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
 Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! 
 
Psalm 46:1-3

Behold

The total eclipse in Eastern Oregon—a once in a life time event. Many people prepared for years to come here, or to other locations which were in the path of the totality.  I spent fifteen months planning how Meg and I and our sons and their wives would view it.  I scouted locations, organized gear and food for six people, developed contingency plans in case of clouds or fire.

As the moon began slowly to erase the sun, we waited in awe and wonder at what was in store for us. The air grew chilly, the light dimmed, a planet shone in the sky, 360 degrees of sunset surrounded us.  Then came a deeply hushed silence followed by joyful shouts as the sun vanished and only its corona shone forth.
I thought about this unique life event during the week and I experienced an epiphany.  Each of us, no matter where in the world we live, will know such a unique event.  Not to be morbid, but to be joyful—we will die, leave our finite, worn out bodies, and be joined with the Lord through Jesus Christ. His love will shine beyond any darkness we have experience, and His gentle, loving light will invite us into His eternal Presence.
Viewing the eclipse, Dooley Mt
Viewing the eclipse, Dooley Mt
Behold

Son Michael’s Eclipse description

Go to Michael’s blog, <powderhunds.com> to see his pictures which include a fun minute long time lapse video

Powderhunds -> Eclipsehunds?

Well, after seeing a total eclipse we might have just turned into eclipse chasers (a/k/a umbraphiles). Yes, spending 2’4″ in totality was THAT amazing. Our location was a remote mountain in Oregon south of Baker City. Though remote, we were not nearly alone as it is pretty easy to access the ridge we were on and the mountain top itself has an old naval installation. A steady progression of vehicles rolled past our camp all morning so we were up early to hit our chosen viewing spot. At nearly 6000′ in the dry mountains of eastern Oregon we had a cloudless, 360º view of the horizon.

The ridge was quite windy, though the wind really died down as totality approached, so I set up my tripod very low to the ground. I was using a Canon 100-400mm 4.5/5.6L lens on a Canon 70D body with an 18-stop solar filter. We also set up Sara’s iPhone to record the whole scene with a time lapse app. Finally, both my brother and Dad were taking pictures, too. We figured we had it pretty well covered. Little did we appreciate how fast the actual 2 minutes of totality would fly by.

When the sun was about 90% covered it was noticeably darker and cooler. Despite the warm morning I put on a sweatshirt. As I feared, I was actually more focused on my pictures than the approaching shadow. As the sliver of sun gets smaller and smaller, the final shadow rushed over us at +/- 2700 mph. The effect is very startling. We could hear oohing and ahhing all along the ridge (and from our own group). For a few seconds I was so focused on my camera that I initially forgot to take off the solar filter and just look up! Fortunately I realized, I needed to spend a little time looking around instead of just at the camera LCD screen.

The effect is amazing. The entire horizon glows almost like sunset as the light from the horizon, which is not in complete shadow, filters back to you. The sun itself glows out from behind the moon. We were only able to see a few bright planets, but the sky was remarkably dark – far more twilight than dusk. While nothing silly happened on our ridge, it is understandable why people want to get naked and worship the universe! I suspect we will be pointing the van toward Mexico or Texas on April 8, 2024.

Sara: With no camera responsibilities, I was able to sit back and just enjoy the scene unfold. It was fun to don solar glasses and check on the progress, while hanging out on a warm ridge. As the sky grew darker, the air cooler, and the grasshoppers went still, I lay back to watch the final minutes to totality. There are no words to express the wonderment I saw as I lowered my glasses to reveal the majestic beauty of the eclipse. It was hard to know where to look: the highlighted moon, the 360º sunset, the dark blue sky, or the unique light on the surrounding mountains. As totality passed, I first put the glasses back on, but then realized I should  watch the lightening sky around me instead. The first rays of sun made a spotlight on us that grew outward as the shadow raced off to the east. The air warmed and the grasshoppers welcomed back the sun. I continued to watch the progress of the receding eclipse while Michael took pictures. In hindsight, I wish we had brought a colander or other creative pinhole things to play with the eclipse light during this time. It has been fun to see all the pictures of folks experiencing this amazing phenomenon. The beauty of the natural world is unbelievable and until you see a total solar eclipse, it is too!

The sun and the Son

sun gradually gone
world chills, sunset comes, darkness
yet light still remains

For those of you who have followed my earlier posts this week, you know that Meg and I celebrated our upcoming fiftieth wedding anniversary by inviting our sons and their wives to join us on Dooley Mt in Baker County to camp and watch the solar eclipse. We enjoyed many memorable moments, highlighted, of course, by the total eclipse itself.
Our location gave us one of the longer times of totality in Oregon—2 minutes and 4 seconds. Nonetheless, what seemed like an eternity of build up was over way too soon.
I had expected to be overwhelmed by totality.  Yet, the sudden drop in temperature as totality approached remains an equally vivid memory It reminded me of our deep dependence on the sun’s warmth, and the consequences of its loss.
And I thought as well of our dependence on the Son’s Presence. Without Him, our lives lack focus and assurance and deep peace, comfort, and strength. The sun sustains us physically; the Son sustains us spiritually and emotionally.
And I also realized the deep meaning of light in the darkness.  Even though the moon covered the sun’s disc, the bright corona still remained visible. The sun light, and Son light cannot be overcome!
John 1.5,
John 1.5,
Total eclipse
Total eclipse
total eclipse sun cross
total eclipse sun cross

The Eclipse, part II: Totality

The eclipse was remarkable, resplendent —an experience we will feel deeply, even though words may fail.  Michael was the primary photographer.  He took some excellent pictures, as you can see from the two I took with my iPhone through his view screen.

My deepest memories are how suddenly it became cold as totality approached.  It reminded me of our utter dependency on the sun’s warmth.  Then came the incredible, unique light on the western horizon that I had never seen before– “sunset” came and went in a few seconds.  And finally the sun’s corona, a sight we had never seen and will never see again.  Yet, all remains deeply embedded in our collective, shared memories to feast on, to share with family and with friends.

 

eclipse viewers
viewing the eclipse
Eclipse viewer
Meg

 

 

waiting for the Oregon eclipse
waiting for the Oregon eclipse
sunburst on eclipse glasses
sunburst on eclipse glasses
Eclipse photographer
Michael setting up his camera

 

partial eclipse in viewfinder
partial eclipse in Michael’s viewfinder
Eclipse sunset
Eclipse sunset
eclipse star burst
eclipse star burst
eclipse sunburst
eclipse sunburst
Totality with sun flares
Totality with sun flares

The Eclipse, part I: Camping before totality

About fifteen months ago, I began planning for the total solar eclipse in eastern Oregon.  I decided on a location right below a mountain top, Dooley Mt, in Baker County,  where an old Naval radar station used to exist.  Meg and I confirmed this site would be ideal over Memorial Weekend.

Serendipitously, September 2 is our Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary. We invited our sons and wives to join us for the eclipse and celebrate our anniversary together.  Matt and Teresa arrived from New Zealand, and Michael and Sara from New Hampshire. We set up camp in ponderosa pine trees on Sunday, and enjoyed conversation, walks, reading and general time together. This relaxing  time created a wonderful intimacy as we waited for the eclipse to begin and then watched it move into totality.

 

 

Baker County camping
Baker County camping

 

 

Sara and Michael
Sara and Michael
Camping Baker County, Dooley Mt camping
Camping Baker County, Dooley Mt camping

For all eternity

“I am yours for all eternity. I am the Alpha and the Omega; the one who is and was and is to come. The world you inhabit is one of constant change—more than your mind can absorb without going into shock. Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly, in spite of modern science’s attempts to prolong life and youth indefinitely. I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever.

Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side. When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step. You have nothing to fear, because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity.”  Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Aneroid Peak wm

Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth
    and made the heavens with your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain forever;
    they will wear out like old clothing.
You will change them like a garment
    and discard them.
27 But you are always the same;
    you will live forever. Psalm 102:25-27

The high country of the Eagle Cap Wilderness

My hiking partner, Bob, and I spent a delightful time in the high Wallowas, far from the “madding crowds.”  A ten mile hike and 4000 foot elevation gain to us to the tundra country of the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where its short spring was just arriving.  We have been here before, but it was the first time we caught it at the peak of its wildflowers.

 

Eagle Cap Wilderness moonrise

 

Bob above lake wm

Trail to Pete's Point
Trail to Pete’s Point
Eagle Cap Wilderness, named lake
Eagle Cap Wilderness, unamed lake
family fun
family fun
Feather
Feather
Snow line beauty
Snow line beauty
Heather
Heather
Eagle Cap Wilderness, early morning
Eagle Cap Wilderness, early morning
Lake reflection, vanishing point, Eagle Cap Wilderness
Lake reflection, vanishing point, Eagle Cap Wilderness
Rarely visited meadow
Rarely visited meadow
Snow lines
Snow lines
Eagle Cap Wilderness
Eagle Cap Wilderness

 

Eagle Cap Wilderness moonrise

 

Photos by Eric Valentine