Chasing Down the Apocalypse (Eclipse)

The New York Times hyped it like crazy. So did my friends. “The eclipse is the thing, man. We gotta go!”

I thought little of it until I was driving home to Toronto and, on a manic whim, instead of sticking to Interstate 80, I veered down 81 toward Virginia and the eclipse.I calculated that I could get as far as Roanoke, Virginia, which I learned through my app would have 92% coverage, and that sounded like something indeed, far more intense than 84%, which is all I would have had if I stayed my course.

Electronic signs began to appear at the side of the road. Solar Eclipse today 12-4pm. No stopping on shoulder or ramps. The interstate was heavily traffic, trucks lining the right lane as far as I could see, but it seemed right. We were all journeying down together, a convoy, to see this astronomical event. I listened solely to Off the Sky, brooding electronic music, perfect for the approaching darkness. I reached the Virginia border, only 234 miles to Roanoke. Only. Ten minutes later, I realized that was well over three more hours of driving which meant another three hours back. I was getting in deep. I focused on the music and the historic moment to come – the sky darkening, animals scattering, humans collectively moaning. It was going to be something, to be sure.

I gassed up less than a hundred miles away, ready to talk to the cashier about the moment to come, but she and a man from Texas were talking in amazed terms instead about the cost of cigarettes in New York. “$15?! That’s two meals for me! Who would be dumb enough to pay that?”

Back on the highway, it got suddenly dim. I looked up. Just a cloud. I drove madly – I needed as much coverage as possible! – until 2:35, five minutes ahead of the full 92% and pulled into a gas station. A van pulled in and two bikers. I looked up. The sun looked the same. I went into the store and bought a can of Chipotle Pringles. The woman looked tired, bored, completely uninterested in this remarkable event. I went back outside. The light began to dim. It cooled quickly, at least 10 degrees below the high of 95. Two people came around behind their van and donned polarized glasses and looked up. Another took a picture of them. “Eclipse!” I looked at my watch. It was 2:41. It had passed. Had I missed it? I wasn’t sure. I was going to borrow their glasses but was afraid they might be the unsafe kind and so looked into the sky again. It was getting hotter, brighter. Yes, it was over. It was eleven hours – a eight-hour detour in the end – to get to Toronto. I listened to nothing for a while, just the tires clicking over the asphalt. And I thought about the next eclipse, only seven years away. I can hardly wait.

Basinski & offthesky: Music to Get Unstuck By

Often I get stuck. Cape Breton 034I don’t know how the room is – the stairway or carpet, the door – or what a character sees – the wallpaper, the light from the kitchen – or what she thinks – a dull pain in her calf, a memory of a first-grade teacher – and sit and stare, trying to think it through. _MG_3091Music gets me out. William Basinski and offthesky never fail. blog_basinskiboxset012William Basinki’s Disintegration Loops – literally the sound of a loop of electronic music slowly disintegrating into other sounds – rises and falls, thick like an ocean.

The front door has been left open, only just, the chain casting a long jeweled shadow on the trim.There is an old wooden banister on the stairs; a narrow carpet runs up it, rolling vines and roots, worn blue, a corner of it bunched at the bottom. The third-last step squeaks. a3584226441_10 Jason Corder’s musical project offthesky is more immediate, starting engines and building long tenuous chords, moving relentlessly to the precipice.

She has her keys, holding them low in her hand. She has forgotten something. She waits but can’t remember. She opened the door. Yes, she just did that. And she came in. She needed to…she can’t remember. She goes up the stairs slowly, pausing on the third step.IMAG1270And remembered, the moment, only ten minutes ago, that she had stepped off the pavement, her feet on the cracked dirt, the leaves and her shadow there, all of the water now gone, from the river, the path and benches immersed, the stillness, and now back. And she was here. She had liked that.Phone 088*This blog written to William Basinski’s dlp 1.1 & offthesky’s lossless