russia_insider (russia_insider) wrote,

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The end of the world as I saw it

Two years ago, in my home town, we could witness great natural event - total Sun eclipse. It happens pretty rare and what's even worse there's only a relatively narrow stripe of Earths surface from where you can observe close to 100% eclipse.
Wiki says:
Solar eclipses are relatively brief events that can only be viewed in totality along a relatively narrow track. Under the most favorable circumstances, a total solar eclipse can last for 7 minutes, 40 seconds, and can be viewed along a track that is up to 250 km wide. However, the region where partial totality can be observed is much larger. The Moon's umbra will advance eastward at a rate of 1,700 km/h, until it no longer intersects the Earth.

I was lucky this time, I didn't have to go anywhere to see the event.
This is a pro picture of that eclipse:

Eclipse Pro picture

And this is what I've done with a cheap digi cam I had at that time:

Eclips my shot with cheap camera

I was so impressed by it so I immediately wrote something like essay. REM song 'The end of the World as we know it' was in my head all the time that day, maybe that's why I decided to write the thing in English.
There's no particular reason to post it today, well just like to share.

Hope you'll read (it's not too long:) it and leave some opinion on the language and stylistic mistakes...

That morning, (oh well, I should be honest, not exactly morning, but I was still asleep so it was morning for me) I was awakened by Bible itself. Well not actually by Bible, it was more likely the sound of my doorbell. Anyway, I opened the door and was pretty surprised to see two young women in front of me. ‘Good afternoon’ said one of them ‘Do you know what is this?’ she waved about inch from my nose with some thin sized pocketbook. I sounded rather inhumanly in reply ‘Mmm…’ but there was obviously no need for the answer. ‘It’s the Bible!’ she announced, and added very quickly ‘The Book, that awakened a great many poor souls!’ I couldn’t argue so I just nodded my head with confidence. ‘Do you aware of the sign we’re about to see today? The sign Jesus predicted? Do you understand that is going to happen today? It is going to be a Judgment day!’ I wasn’t quite aware, partly because of the harsh religious awakening though, so it took me couple of seconds to figure out that she was speaking of Sun’s total eclipse expected to happen today. ‘Do you want to talk about it?’ she continued and looked at me with the look of a nice doctor talking to a fatal case patient. I had to refuse and they left, promising to return some day which sounded pretty eerie and illogical. I was fully awake and totally in the mood to see the eclipse. It was 12:10 sharp.
Around 14:40 when I was already outside I started to notice some changes on the sun disk. My observations though cost me very jolly blots on every object I was looking at afterwards, so I decided to get more solid filter than my regular plastic sun glasses. I went to my grand-mother’s place which is 10 minutes of walking away and found my old mountaineering glasses. But than immediately I found out that it wasn’t enough. Just few more blots instead of old ones. At that moment (about 15:00) my grand-mother took pity on me and showed me very efficient way to make up a DIY sun filter. She just gave me one of her neck X-ray pictures. And that was really nice. No blots, clear vision, if you look through the black part of picture certainly.
The total eclipse was predicted for 15:17 and when my watch indicated 15:10 I started thinking that it’s probably not going to be something funny at all. Looking through the X-ray thing, one could clearly see how moon was consuming the sun disk, but turn you head away and you still would see a very bright day. Nothing special. By 15:15 I stated that the great performance promised by mass media is just another bubble made to distract people from the poor mid day’s TV schedule. The only noticeable difference comparing to any other sunny day was some strange feeling like you’re wearing some not really dark sun glasses, but you’re not in fact. And then…
Then I noticed myself screaming ‘It’s fading!’ The light, it was fading awfully fast.
Really it was like 32x fast forward of a nightfall on your DVD player. In some 15 seconds bright day turned to true night. During those 15 seconds I was staring not actually in the sky but on the pavement under my feet. 15 seconds shy the full eclipse I saw something like play of light on the sea waves when the ocean is calm but water’s moving anyway. Light was streaming through the street pavement. It was scary and fascinating in the same time. Shadows suddenly shrunk and disappeared. It was dark as in a full moon night, mere 15 seconds after I exclaimed ‘It’s fading!’ Now I heard the other people on the crowded street screaming with rollercoaster feeling of childish wander, adult fear and natural weirdness mixed in pretty equal proportions. I raised my eyes. I was not expecting to see the star. It’s the total eclipse after all and it’s dark around, but I saw a star. It was not the Sun I knew, it was a black Star of Doomsday. It was black but it was shining. It had a crown of ragged light around it. I became a statue for a moment, my mouth open, my heart sunk. I just witnessed the end of the light. And in Russian it sounds the same with the end of the world. I stood there staring for a minute or so. When I pulled my attention from the Sun I saw an old man walking by the street his face away from the black star. He looked like he was not actually aware about what is happening in the moment. He never turned back even for a second. Maybe his world ended long time ago and nothing could wander him.
In next two minutes the whole process reversed and we saw fast forwarded sunrise. I was happy to see the good old Sun back. Or it is new Sun rather than the old one, I thought. My cell phone buzzed, I answered and heard ‘Hey! Welcome to the new world!’
Tags: journalism

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