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A Last Hurrah
SUMMER READ By the Staff
Here and Gone by Haylen Beck (Crown Publishers)
hile we usually don’t feature commercial thrillers as recommended reading, the recent release of Haylen Beck ’s Here and Gone happened to catch our eye. The book has a local connection, in that Beck concocted many of the books scenes and much of the story’s premise around his own travels in and around the back roads of Arizona. This is where the shocking moment of the novel arrives, as Audra Kinney is f leeing across country from her abusive husband—with her two young children in tow—and is pulled over on a remote stretch of highway by Sheriff Ronald Whiteside. He f inds drugs that Audra didn’t know were there and, suddenly, she f inds herself in a jail cell. Ten-year-old Sean and 6-year-old Louise are taken “somewhere safe,” according to the sheriff. Instead, they disappear. The story hits the media as Audra claims her children
went missing but the sheriff said they were never in the car. This catches the attention of Danny “Knife Boy” Lee, who is certain Audra is telling the truth after the same situation happened with his wife and daughter f ive years earlier.
He travels to Arizona to help her. While Here and Gone is clearly carved from its genre—with too-evilto-be-true characters, an overly twisted plotline and fairly light commentary on the deeply sociopolitical implications of the storyline—it’s a gripping read with scenes from Arizona that are recognizable. Beck, a pen name for crime writer Stuart Neville, mentioned in an interview that he had “an opportunity to take a road trip through Arizona over a couple of days, and I traveled with a notepad, taking photos as I went. That was when the story really began to take shape … The road trip through Arizona had a huge impact on the book. You’ ll see it in the small details as well as the broader descriptions of the landscape, from the low desert to the forests of the Colorado Plateau in the north of the state.” Although it’s fun to spot the recognizable within the pages, know the story itself is a harrowing and disturbing one, so not for the faint of heart. But it’s a doozy for people who like a good page-turner and wild summer read.
With each issue, we feature our selections of books, films, music and other media as part of a roundup of what’s in the headphones or on the nightstand or generally catching our attention across all media, gadgetry and formats. Some have regional ties or loose affiliations to northern Arizona and some are picks we think are just plain worth checking out. august17 namlm.com
Taking in wine and scenery at Page Springs Cellars.
Michael Pierce, director of enology at the college’s Southwest Wine Center, said, “Students make wine from start to finish, from harvest to production. The degree serves as a business launch or to work in the industry.” The wine center opened in 2014 with an acre of vines donated by Merkin Vineyards, and 12 acres of distinct varieties have been planted since. The center is a series of repurposed racquetball courts offering production in industry-scaled tanks, aging barrels, plus a bottling area and tasting room. Students learn about licensing, taxes, compliances and more. “They write a business plan as the capstone of their degree and how to be profitable in companies,” Pierce said. Apprenticeships are encouraged, and the campus has become an affordable destination program from outside Arizona. There have been 47 graduates overall with a growing program of 103 students to date, most work full-time while attending classes. Scholarships are available. Graduate Aaron Weiss has worked for Merkin Vineyards since 2015. At 32 years old, he is branching out with the Oddity Wine Collective’s premier vintage 2015 for purchase and tasting at Four Eight Wineworks in Clarkdale. Winery 101, with tasting rooms in Peoria and Cottonwood, has made wine since 2008 under two labels: Gallifant Cellars and South Paw Cellars. Along the way, Gavin and Irlyn Gallifant—“two lefties making wine in their right minds”—leaned on fellow winemakers for endless and effective advice. “This allowed us to become profitable in a shorter time than usual,” Gavin said. (Full disclosure: Gavin is 12
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Tasting rooms line Main Street in Cottonwood.
this writer’s brother, and lucky am I.) The duo contracts grapes from Arizona Wine Growers Association members to cut costs. “Since we began, we’ve also customcrushed to avoid investing in expensive equipment we’d only use once a year,” he said. “We have doubled our business in the past 12 months and expect consistent growth in our second location in old town.” The Verde Valley has lent a large hand in boosting winemaking in Arizona, which has burgeoned from 12 wineries in 2006 to 100-plus wineries today. As a commercial model integrating education, support associations, economic development and ancillary businesses to drive tourism and a quality community experience, the wine industry has proven itself as a viable and reliable driver for successes all around. Recently, Cottonwood and the Verde Valley area were acknowledged as a top U.S. travel destination by Lonely Planet Guide. The proof is in the glass. Cheers! august17 namlm.com
Chef David’s flavorful marinades and a dressing for summer alfresco dining.
ACHIOTE MARINADE 1 each 8 ounce 1 pint 2/3 cup 1/2 cup
Overripe Banana Achiote Paste (specialty store) Orange Juice, good quality Lime Juice (pasteurized is fine) Grapefruit Juice, bottled
In a blender, puree all ingredients. Can be used for poultry, pork or beef with a 12-24 hour marinate.
KOREAN STEAK MARINADE 1.5-2 lb
Flank, Ribeye, or Sirloin Steak, trimmed of unnecessary fat or silver skin 1 cup Cilantro, chopped ½ cup Brown Sugar ½ cup Sesame Oil ½ cup Canola Oil ½ cup Soy Sauce ½ cup Orange Juice 4 cloves Garlic, minced 3-4 Tbsp Korean Sambal Olek or Gochujang Chili Paste 1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
Whisk to combine all ingredients. Marinate meat in refrigerator for 24 hours before grilling.
HONEY-YUZU VINAIGRETTE 2 Tbsp 2 each
Menu concepts rotate seasonally in commercial kitchens, such as braising meats in winter or playing up light and bright English peas in spring. Summer introduces squash and grilled meats. Is it different when the chef and his wife Nita make dinner at home? “Eighty percent of our summer meals are salads,” he confessed. “Number one is protein, adding
crunchy, sweet and salty components with dressing to match the protein.” He suggested lemon-thyme for shrimp and berries for poultry. A quick recipe blends bottled vinaigrettes with fruit. Simply, blend a peeled, chopped mango with bottled Italian dressing and spike with zippy vinegar, depending on the fruit’s sugar. The possibilities are endless.
1 cup ½ cup ¼ cup ½ cup ¼ cup ½ cup 2 tsp ¼ cup 1 cup
Fresh Ginger, peeled, minced Scallions, green part only, thinly sliced Yuzu or Lemon Juice Rice Wine Vinegar Soy Sauce Honey Mirin Brown Sugar Kosher Salt Sesame Oil Canola Oil
Whisk first nine ingredients together. Slowly whisk in oils to emulsify. Cover and refrigerate. august17 namlm.com
BY THE BOTTLE
Soakin’ in the Suds Local picks for sipping under the sun By Mike Williams
ummer is in full swing, and that’s prime time for some good ol’ fashioned beer drinking. The Brewer’s Association recognizes 152 individual styles of beer. While that may seem imposing, some brews jump to the forefront as essential summer beverages. Although this is by no means a be-all and end-all guide, especially since it’s next to impossible to go wrong enjoying any kind ice cold craft beer in summer, here are a few local standouts. As a jumping off point for finding the proper beer for the proper time, take a hard look at your activity. Pay close attention to length of time you’ll be out as well as the level of intensity of the activity and the alcohol content of your choices. And, don’t forget to appoint that designated driver going to and fro. For all-day leisure activities, like fishing or barbequing, look for a good session beer.
Historic Brewing Company’s Undercover Cucumber, coming in at a modest 5.2 percent ABV, is just perfect. Light and supremely drinkable with a crisp cucumber follow-up, it’s as close to fermented sunshine as you can get and hands down one of the best summer beers available in town. Remember, a common misconception is that light American macro-brews such as PBR, Coors, and Budweiser are sessionable; however, with an average alcohol content coming in at around 5-6 percent and significantly higher sugar content than most craft beers, the chances of winding up too drunk and dehydrated for more fun shouldn’t be ignored. On the other foot, after a day of hard fun, look no further than a coffee kolsch. A nice jolt of caffeine with a higher ABV after a bike ride or rock climb is just what the doctored ordered and pretty much any variety found at the more eclectic watering holes like Hops on Birch, Majestic
Photos by Nancy Wiechec
Summer sipping on the patio at Historic Brewing’s Barrel + Bottle House.
Marketplace, State Bar or McGaugh’s Smoke and Bottle do the job perfectly. While the exact opposite of the traditionalist take on classic beer flavor, fruit infused beers are absolutely perfect for a warm day on the patio. When available, Dark Sky Brewing’s Blood of My Enemies is easily the best in town, but is rarely on tap for more than a week as both locals and tourists alike descend on the passion fruit and hibiscus brew like a parched army. Beaver Street and Lumberyard’s Red Rock Raspberry was one of Flagstaff’s first craft fruit flavored beer and has stood the test of time for a decade. For a more classic take on a fruity beer, Flag Brew’s Bubbaganouj IPA meets both worlds in the middle immaculately. For those looking for a standard beer flavor light enough to match the weather, look no further than any of the local wheat, blonde, and IPA varieties. Every craft brewery in town has their own takes on these styles and part of the fun is trying them all; however, Wanderlust’s 928 Local Farmhouse Ale makes for one of the best summer drinks with subtle notes of honey and American and Czech hops rounding out a delectable pilsner base. The town’s best selling beer, Mother Road’s Tower Station, is also easily one of the best IPAs available. Drink up! august17 namlm.com
Wild Storms of the Arizona Monsoon Inspire Local Artists By Diandra Markgraf
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Photo by Saylor of A. Saylor Photography
Photo by Gretchen Hornberger
Delisa Myles and Jayne Lee (foreground) in Weatherwild.
Photo by Saylor of A. Saylor Photography
he lightning forks and the thunder shakes in the high country when the Arizona monsoon ramps up in July and August. Some of the raging storms, downpours and even scatterings of hailstones send many people for cover. But for several local artists, the arrival of the monsoon is a strike of the muse, as the stormy part of the summer season is an exciting time to photograph, interpret and make art. For years, Saylor of A. Saylor Photography has compulsively checked the radar for signs of storm activity. Whenever the proper flicker emerges, she’s on the scene with camera in hand, steadily, patiently waiting for that visible friction. Saylor’s attention to weather has taken her across the country from Oklahoma to Death Valley, Utah and her Arizona home. It stemmed from her experience during the devastating 2010 Schultz Fire, which sparked work with disaster management and the American Red
Cross—and all while expanding her portfolio and passion. Last year’s adventures brought experiments with a neutral-density filter that allows capture of a long-exposed bolt of lightning. Saylor’s other quests brought razorclose calls with Mother Nature. One evening at sunset, north of the Peaks, Saylor clicked the shutter just as a massive bolt broke. “It was terrifying because it was just way, way close and loud,” she explained of the captured image Big Lightning (opposite page) “… it was a great shot—I’m just glad it didn’t hit me.” Now, with the season just getting started, the photographer will be spending more time outside as she works to complete a film dedicated to Southwest monsoons and traveling across the Southwest to get those shots. “The only thing that makes me feel OK is to be out there doing what I do,” Saylor added. “I want to see the magic.” Greg Brown’s lenses catch a face-to-face
view of storm origins. From his small aircraft, this photographer and pilot has snapped images of the dynamism, the violence and the mystery that is a desert monsoon. “We live in this beautiful place, but I like situations where the sky becomes part of the landscape. I’m for some reason captivated by the landscape of the sky and how it interacts with the earth. It adds another dimension. In some places like the desert, where the sky is most always blue, it changes the character of the place.” From Superstition Mountains Mist and Sunset Rains, all the way to Painted Desert Thunderstorm (page 24, top) and more, Brown has battled the elements to snag monsoon magic happening miles away—a safe distance to view the drama of thunderstorms. Well versed in barometric shifts, Brown noted a storm’s vertical-traveling wind can reach speeds up to 90 miles per hour, posing greater danger than the rain itself. In Painted Desert Thunderstorm, Brown caught an early-morning august17 namlm.com
Photo by Greg Brown Photo by Saylor of A. Saylor Photography
Weatherwild, a contemporary, group piece that pondered through movement humans’ effect on weather, and garnered a Viola Award nomination the following spring. “The weather affects how we are, but I think we affect the weather, definitely,” Lee said, noting the connection to climate change and humanity’s carbon footprint. On the river, though, the season before last proved incomparable, Lee said. A flood sent waterfalls cascading over the canyon rims and the creek itself flash flooded. Her extraordinary experience inspired her 2015 solo piece, Storm, that recreated the exhilaration of wet skin and the gentle movement from light rain to electric air. The London native also noted rain anywhere else cannot compare to monsoon season. “I grew up in London, so I thought I’d had enough of rain, but monsoon is a special time. I love the way the flowers come out again here, the smell of rain in the desert. I love the drama of it, too: the lightning, thunder, the cracking of it. You can’t ignore it.”
storm about eight miles away from the craft. “You can see the danger of that storm,” Brown said. “To me, thunderstorms fall into that category: you have to keep your distance, but they’re very compelling.” Other artists channel monsoon inspirations into terrestrial modes. Jayne Lee, co-founder and co-director of Human Nature Dance Theatre, moved to Flagstaff in the early 1990s to become a river guide, and found a muse in the weather. In 2014, Lee established
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To see more of A. Saylor’s work, visit the Artists’ Gallery, 17 N. San Francisco, or check her out on Facebook. Visit Human Nature Dance Theatre on Facebook to keep up with more performances from Lee and her colleagues. More of Brown’s fine art photography is visible on his website www.paperjet.net.
When Cure is Not an Option By Starla S. Collins
Northern Arizona's Mountain Living Magazine
Photos by Kristyna Wentz-Graff, courtesy of Oregon Health & Science University
MIND & BODY
hances are good that most people know someone living with a chronic, life-limiting illness that can’t be cured. According to the Center to Advance Palliative Care, about 90 million Americans live with serious illness. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are the most common. Understanding and meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of those living with chronic and life-limiting conditions is the focus of palliative care. Palliative, which means to relieve or soothe, is specialized medical care for those living with serious illness. It aims to provide relief from symptoms and stress and to improve quality of life for patients and their loved ones. Dr. Emmalee Kennedy is the medical director of the palliative care program at Northern Arizona Healthcare. She is part of a team of compassionate medical providers—physicians, nurses,
nurse practitioners, social workers, pharmacists, chaplains—who are working to educate health care providers, caregivers and the community about the benefits of palliative care, how to request palliative care for a loved one and how to ensure a patient’s needs are met and wishes carried out. “As physicians and health care providers, our goal is to cure sometimes, to relieve often and to comfort always,” Kennedy explained. “When a cure is not possible, palliative care is there to provide support and care for the patient and their loved ones. Palliative care concentrates on reducing the severity of chronic or progressive disease symptoms rather than striving to halt or reverse the disease when curing the illness is not an option.” Palliative care brings together a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals who work directly with a patient, family and health providers. The team listens to a patient’s needs and desires,
TREKS & TRAILS
WEATHERING the Good hiking relies on good fortune in the rainy season By Larry Hendricks he rains passed. The wet smell of smoke remained. Steller's jays screeched their off-key songs as thunder grumbled through fat, purplegray clouds. Ferns, quenched from the downpour, offered cool brushes of moisture against my legs. I hiked, mindful of the weather, hopeful to make it to the next cabin before lightning and another downpour became an issue. I would turn back if the journey seemed doubtful. Taking a hike along the Mogollon Rim during monsoon season takes a bit of luck. It wasnâ€™t quite my lucky day this day, but I managed to get in a soul-energizing sojourn into a beautiful part of the Coconino National Forest in spite of the rain, thunder and lightning. The goal was a trail in the Cabin Loop Trail System in the southern part of forest. The trail system was the link among the earliest fire-guard cabin networks in the area. It is made up of the Houston Brothers, Barbershop, U-Bar, General Crook and Fred Haught trails. I chose, while in the ignorant comfort of my home, the Houston Brothers Trail. I neglected to check the current conditions there. The sky was crystal blue when I began my drive to the trail, but as I passed the Blue Ridge ranger station, large puffy clouds had begun to form. When I made my way to Forest Road 139, I smelled heavy smoke. Signs alerted me that the area was closed to 26
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recreation because of fire activity. As I neared the Barbershop trailhead, a posted sign said entry was prohibited. I continued to the Houston Brothers trailhead on Forest Road 300 only to find a similar sign there. I checked for current conditions and found that the Highline Fire, which began in early June, caused the closure of much of the Bear Canyon area in the Cabin Loop system, including General Crook, Houston Brothers and Barbershop trails. But, the Fred Haught Trail looked good, so I headed west on FR 300 to the trailhead. The views to the left, off the rim were breathtaking, still shrouded in a smoky haze. I stopped for lunch and noticed the white clouds had darkened and plumped with monsoon moisture. Thunder rolled in the distance. The Fred Haught Trail, a section of the Arizona Trail that runs 790 miles through the entire state, was open, green and inviting. But as I readied to set off, the thunder and lightning had
Victorian Masterpiece Continues to Enchant Photographs by Jake Bacon
lagstaff has a certain degree of storied history. While not as deep as the history of East Coast towns or even hamlets of the Midwest, Flagstaffâ€™s early days are easily found in buildings and homes in or near the town center.
One of the earliest homes, a Queen Anne Victorian cottage on Leroux Street, was constructed around 1900 by tailor Simon T. Elliott, a pillar of the community in Flagstaffâ€™s early days who lived in the home with his wife, Lilly. august17 namlm.com
It served as the home of William (Billy) and Elizabeth Roche Babbitt from 1915 to 1937 and the home of Lowell astronomer Earl Slipher and his wife from 1937 to 1976. The home features three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the second floor. A balcony from the upstairs master overlooks the front yard. The living room and dining room join the upstairs rooms in appearing like antique showcases with traditional and period furniture and dĂŠcor. Little has been done to change the layout of the house, save for some expansion work done by the Sliphers. The house remains a private residence, one that Flagstaff folk and visitors often admire, said its current owner, who has lived there since 2002 and has worked to improve the home while striving to preserve its historic roots.
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How & Why D
Why is this solar eclipse a special event? Solar eclipses are special because they are rare, dramatic events. For the entire Earth, there’s a total solar eclipse that touches some part of the globe roughly every 18 months. However, for a given specific location on Earth, the average interval between eclipses is 350 years. Eclipses are dramatic, in that the normally constant sun gets blotted out, the temperature drops, and the sky gets painted with the weaving streamers of the sun’s chromosphere and corona. Normally this tapestry of plasma can’t be seen in the daytime due to the brightness of the solar disk. In addition to what is directly seen during an eclipse, there is also the cultural drama that solar eclipses have had through the ages. Eclipses have often been seen as omens of portentous events. How do you personally plan to observe the eclipse and from where? I will be in Madras for Lowell Observatory’s Solar Eclipse Experience. I plan on watching it with eclipse glasses until totality, and removing those glasses during the two-plus minutes of totality. This is a well-understood phenomenon. What do scientists expect to learn from it? Famously, a solar eclipse in 1919 was used to test Einstein’s theory of general relativity. During the eclipse, when the sun was blocked, apparent positions of stars were shown to be shifted, consistent with gravitational bending of light predicted by the theory. The validation of general relativity by the eclipse observations catapulted the relatively unknown Albert Einstein overnight from anonymity to worldwide celebrity status. Interestingly, the eclipse event still presents a unique set of conditions to test and explore various phenomena on the Earth and in space. A nationwide citizen science experiment called
Photo by Andrew Holt Frazier
r. Gerard van Belle, a Lowell Observatory astronomer whose research concentrates on the fundamental properties of stars, will help lead the observatory’s Solar Eclipse Experience in Madras, Oregon, Aug. 21. He offers some insight into this natural spectacle.
EclipseMob will measure the effects of the event on the Earth’s ionosphere, an atmospheric layer used for reflecting certain radio waves around the globe. Other scientists are studying animal behavior during the eclipse, or retesting relativity. A NASA-led project (one among many) called Citizen CATE has citizen-scientists taking images of the solar corona during totality throughout the passage of the moon’s shadow from West Coast to East Coast. Assuming no clouds that day, when can the eclipse be observed in Flagstaff? What will we see? And, what’s the best place and way to experience it? The moment of first contact, when the disk of the moon starts to block out the disk of the sun, will be at 9:13 a.m. in Flagstaff. Maximum obscuration will unfortunately only be around 70 percent, at 10:34 a.m. The end of the eclipse event will be a minute after noon. You’ll need eclipse glasses for the whole time of the eclipse here in Flagstaff, and you’ll see some pretty dramatic blockage of the sun’s disk—it’ll look rather quite a bit like the crescent moon. With those glasses, anywhere in town should be just fine for viewing the event. Up on Mars Hill, Lowell will have a special event celebrating the eclipse, which will include higher-magnification telescope viewing.
In Madras, we start our eclipse event at 9:06 a.m. local time with first contact. We’ll get 100 percent obscuration, or totality, starting at 10:19 and lasting just over two minutes. The partial eclipse ends at 11:41 a.m. Experiencing totality gives one the opportunity to see things, such as the solar corona and chromosphere, that just don’t reveal themselves in the partial eclipse. Is it possible to photograph a solar eclipse? Do you need special equipment? It is indeed possible, and basically requires a special solar filter just like the filters used in eclipse glasses. For the amount of magnification, you’ll need a pretty generous amount of zoom. You can test that out in the weeks prior to the event in trying to photograph the moon. That much magnification will necessitate use of a tripod to steady your camera. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers about this event? It’s going to be a fun, exciting event. Eclipses are very rare and unique experiences. I strongly urge everyone to get into the path of totality if at all possible. That’s a significantly more dramatic event than a partial eclipse. In either case, look up (with your special eclipse glasses) and enjoy!
Learn More: Lowell Observatory Solar Eclipse Experience: www.lowellsolareclipse.com | NASA’s special eclipse site: eclipse2017.nasa.gov august17 namlm.com
WHO ATE THE SUN? Variations on Ancient Solar Eclipse Myths
A solar eclipse aligns perfectly with the North Window in Arches National Park May 20, 2012. (Neal Herbert, National Park Service) Inset: The moon crosses in front of the sun in a 2014 photo captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. (NASA)
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he U.S. will experience its first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in 99 years. Day will briefly become night Aug. 21 over a swath of totality stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. Areas off the totality path, including northern Arizona, will be treated to a partial eclipse. Over the course of history, the frightening and mesmerizing total eclipse of the sun has caused humans to invent myths, legends and superstitions about the event. Even today, an eclipse is considered a bad omen in some cultures. Here’s a look at several stories that have been used to explain eclipses. Mythical figures are eating or stealing our sun. China: According to Griffith Observatory director E. C. Krupp in an interview with National Geographic, the earliest Chinese word for eclipse is "shih," which means "to eat." It then seems appropriate that according to Chinese lore, eclipses are caused by a dragon living among the stars who tries to eat the sun (because dragons love fire, of course). Vietnam: Vietnamese legend explains that eclipses occur when a giant frog trying to escape his master, the Lord of Hahn, eats the sun. The lord is the only one who can then convince the frog to release the sun. Norse cultures: Norse legend doesn’t have animals eating the sun, but they do attack it. In this story, a pair of sky wolves try to chase down the sun or moon. When one of them finally reaches it, an eclipse occurs.
It’s our fault. Woe! Ancient Greeks: The ancient Greeks believed that eclipses occurred when the gods became angry with humans. It was predicted that disaster and destruction would soon follow. Tewa tribe, New Mexico: After becoming angry, the sun decides to leave the skies for its home in the underworld. Thankfully, the sun always reconsiders its retreat and returns to the skies. The gods (or other heavenly bodies) are quarreling. Inuit of the Arctic: The sun goddess, Malina, walks away after a fight with her brother, the moon god, Anningan. Anningan chases after her but becomes so obsessed with his pursuit that he forgets to eat. He becomes smaller and smaller (the waning phase), and eventually has to stop to replenish (the new moon). Occasionally he catches up to Malina and everything goes dark, causing a solar eclipse. Batammaliba of Africa: The Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin see each eclipse as an opportunity to end old feuds. The myth is that an eclipse is caused by fighting between the sun and the moon. When an eclipse occurs, the Batammaliba come together as a community and try to end their own fighting as a way of encouraging the sun and moon to do the same. Omens: The good, the bad and the ugly. Some Italians believe flowers planted during a solar eclipse are brighter and more colorful than flowers planted at other times. Many people in India fast during the day of a lunar or solar eclipse due to the belief that
any cooked or processed food will become poisonous during that time. Some say even water is off limits. Others decide to fast for spiritual reasons while they pray for the release of the sun god. One of the most persistent myths is that an eclipse can harm pregnant women and unborn children. In some cultures, it’s believed that unborn children will be deformed or killed by the eclipse, so pregnant women are told to stay indoors. According to Krupp, the Griffith Observatory still receives calls before each event about whether eclipses are harmful for pregnant women (answer: they’re not). A celestial soap opera? National Geographic describes possibly the most complex and gory eclipse myth. The Hindu demon Rahu disguises himself as a god in order to steal an elixir that grants immortality. The sun and moon see what Rahu is up to, and they call him out to the god Vishnu. Vishnu slices off Rahu’s head before the elixir can slide past his throat. Thus Rahu’s head turns immortal, but his body dies. So the demon’s head continues to orbit the sky, spitefully chasing the sun and the moon. Once in a while Rahu catches one or the other and swallows them. But Rahu has no stomach, so the sun and the moon fall out of the bottom of his head. This conveniently explains both solar and lunar eclipses. The cold dark truth. There is no scientific evidence that solar eclipses can affect human behavior, health or the environment. One belief is no myth, however: Don’t look at a partial eclipse with the unfiltered eye. You could go blind. Special glasses to protect the eyes are necessary to view a solar eclipse.
Various cultures: Numerous cultures have an eclipse story about some sort of demon or animal trying to steal the sun. The typical response is to bang pots, pans or drums to scare away whatever entity is behind the theft. august17 namlm.com