In high school, my French teacher required the class to read The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I thought “no problem, I like to read.” Then she said we would be reading Le Petit Prince IN FRENCH! I can tell you that my teenage self was NOT happy.
Mrs. Loughlin handed out the books and I began to read. It didn’t take long and I was hooked. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Wikipedia describes the book this way:
“The Little Prince is a poetic tale, with watercolour illustrations by the author, in which a pilot stranded in the desert meets a young prince fallen to Earth from a tiny asteroid. The story is philosophical and includes social criticism, remarking on the strangeness of the adult world.”
There is a part in the story where the little prince describes seeing 43 sunsets in one day. I grew up on a lake where sunsets are so beautiful. The thought of seeing 43 sunsets in one day just seemed magical to me. Now when I am watching a beautiful sunset, I often reflect back on that book and wish that I could just move my chair a few steps to see it again.
Recently I had the opportunity to experience something nearly as fascinating…a total solar eclipse.
The eclipse was big news in this part of the country. Classes were cancelled, people took sick days, lunch hours were rearranged…all so that people could see the eclipse. Well I’m here to tell you that an eclipse is no big deal. When I was in grade school, we made pinhole viewers and watched the eclipse at school. It was A LOT of waiting for one moment of WOW. Needless to say, I thought that all of the publicity for a moment of WOW was overkill.
I felt that way UNTIL August 21, 2017 when I had my own personal “sunset” experience. The day was sunny, minimal cloud cover, everyone was excited to see what was billed as a “once in a lifetime” event. As the moon moved to cover the sun, the light began to diminish, the peepers began to sing, and the air had a strange energy. It was a Monday and I was experiencing twilight at 1:25 in the afternoon.
Totality only lasted a couple of minutes. Afterwards the peepers stopped singing, the sun began to shine and the energy in the air dissipated. I am so glad that I followed the crowd and went outside to watch the total solar eclipse. Seeing it with grownup eyes WAS magical. And when you think about it, I saw the sun “set” twice that day. I had an experience similar to Le Petit Prince.
You know, I really HAD considered just working through the eclipse. I mean, I had already seen it ONCE before. What’s the big deal? “I had work to do!” Thankfully, my curiosity won out.
It’s interesting how a story that I fell in love with as a teenager stuck with me through adulthood. I’m also thankful that I have a curious nature. Tinkering With Success is about learning and growing. In this case it allowed me to experience two “sunsets” in one day.
The next time you have a chance to experience a once in a lifetime event, DO IT! I’m so glad that I did. If you are bummed that you missed out, then mark your calendar for April 8, 2024 to experience your own “total eclipse of the sun.” (Cue the music)
Nancy K. Loughlin
Beautiful, Becky. The wisdom and simple guide to living a good life are wrapped up in <>. Cleaning one’s own planet every day; C’est triste d’oublier un ami (une amie); the world of tears is lonely…you can be with the person (in tears) but you cannot be wholly with the person…the world of tears is distant and strange; see the world through the eyes of a child who truly sees the world for what is important. Some ideas are more powerfully felt in French and lose a bit of punch when translated; everyone, however, should read the book as a child and then again and again as one ages. The world would be peaceful and kind if we all followed the simple words and deeds of the little prince.
Thank you for your thoughts. I do appreciate it.
Good read. I wish you had skipped work and experienced the eclipse here at the vineyard with us. We could have been “Wowed” together.