I'm a week late, but the other day it came to me that there are some similarities between solar eclipses and cow pies.
We watched the solar eclipse last week on the NASA TV internet feed. At one point, they interviewed an astronaut who had flown on several of the space shuttle missions. His perspective was interesting, especially compared to the scientific explanations given by the TV broadcast team and the"Wow, I'm glad I got to see that!" comments of the folks across the country after seeing the eclipse.
He commented that the Earth's moon and the sun are relatively the same size from our perspective on the ground which makes solar eclipses like the one last week unique in our solar system. That reminded me about the reality that our earth is an optimal distance from the sun and that if we were slightly closer or slightly farther away we would either burn up or freeze to death.
So what is similar with eclipses and cow pies is that they both represent unique relationships and processes special to our planet. Our sun provides heat and, just as important, energy, that we could not live without. Its distance from us is part of that relationship.
The grasses and other plants use that solar energy to process elementary nutrients into useful food - another form of energy - for cattle and other animals. The animals then take that energy and further process it into food for humans and animals and even the plants that fed them in the first place! Awesome! And this doesn't happen, and can't happen - at least not as naturally - on any other planet!
These total solar eclipses only come around every so often. I think the next one we might get to see will be in 2024? It's interesting that they're an opportunity for us to be amazed at all that goes on around us in this world and solar system. It's almost disappointing though, that we don't really grasp the depth of what an eclipse represents. And it's just the same with the cow pies...
(The photo with this post is one we took of the eclipse through some cloud cover. You might be able to see the partially covered sun on the left of the brightest part of the photo.)