A passing shadow
Perhaps I'm just a little envious of my friends and relations in North America who have had the chance to experience a total eclipse today. I made this painting after witnessing an eclipse on a long Normandy beach in 1999. There was such a sense of anticipation that day! People clutched their French state eclipse glasses and champagne flutes while chattering amiably to their sandy-toed neighbours that they had never previously met. Together we willed every cloud away and jumped occasionally in the salty air to keep warm until a silencing of birds and breeze announced that the show was about to begin. The shadow started down to the south of us, running up the beach with a speed you don't normally associate with such size. When it reached us, there was a collective intake of breath, as if we had all expected to be hit by something physical. We were immersed. We whispered and wondered, feeling no bigger than the grains that stuck to our feet. The sun slipped away, was gone, and then it crept back, ray by ray until we weren't sure if we had simply imagined it all. A shrill chirp broke the spell. Dusk, night, dawn had swept over us like a wave. My neighbour shook the last of her champagne into my glass and gathered her picnic affairs. "Que c'était beau!" she exclaimed as she placed her hand lightly on my elbow. Then she was gone and with her, the brief community that had formed during the passing of a shadow. #eclipse #kimlingmorris
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