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Dancing in the dark of the moon

The rare event of a solar eclipse, Monday, Aug. 21, a thin, absolute dark line to cut across Central Oregon dead-centering through Salem and tiny Madras in Eastern Oregon.

A million out-of-state visitors expected. Rumors of charging $1,000 a night in the tiny, 10-motel Madras. An estimated 42,000 doomsayers expected to be scattered along the thin line and perhaps up to 22,000 witches, by whomever’s definition.

The dramatic countdown began:

9:15 a.m.: a slight sliver of shade, the sun barely bothered.

9:30: The sun is still in control, but the moon making its sneaky move.

9:45: The sky starts to darken, what the hell is happening? The doomsayers start chanting and holding up their signs, “Sinners will burn in hell.” The witches start stripping, dancing and singing. The confused crows screech like crazy. The wolves and coyotes thinking perhaps a quick darkness meal? Dogs barking or whining, bravery abandoned. The cows oblivious, just chewing their cuds.

The temperature quickly drops.

10:00: The world is ending or celebrating or belching? Apocalypse or nirvana?

10:18: Full eclipse, the devil’s grin or angels high-fiving? The doomsayers convinced, but not taking their suicide pills. One eye remains open to check on the others. No one has. No one is willing to go first.

The witches are fully stripped, joyous but shivering in their nakedness, flowers spilling from their hair. Twenty degrees colder; many witches begin to question their nudity.

Three minutes, the total full-dark time. Three minutes.

10:21: The waning starts, the sun pushes back as the moon hits the brakes.

10:30: The moons tries the emergency brake, but the sun’s pressure is too much.

10:45: The cocky sun is already declaring victory. The lion has swatted the mosquito.

11:00: It’s over. The massive millions of people three-minute orgasm spent.

The doomsayers declare, “Oh, shoot! Another dud!”

The witches, hey, anything for a frolic.

It takes a day and half for the narrow, rural roads to become quiet and empty again.

The sun/moon Super Bowl is over, the grassy seats were OK, the tailgating excellent.

The stories start, “Hey, where were you on August 21st?”

A juicy rumor has it that hundreds of doomsayers have hooked up with the witches.

What more can you ask? There is still hope.

— Andy Anderson lives in Ashland.