“I love magic.”
Harry’s attendance at the Tri-Wizard Torunament has always been one of my favorite parts of the entire series. It is one of the first times Harry is soundly entrenched in his tribe. His lack of experience with wizarding culture is perhaps at its height. He knows how to play Quidditch, the rules of the game and how the teams work, but he doesn’t know or understand the social interactions as a fan in this environment. He flounders, falls behind when watching the game through magic binoculars, and he doesn’t understand many of the basic magic workings around him.
Harry’s experience at the tournament doesn’t end well (a massive understatement) but I always appreciate the love of the culture he experiences in the moments before the Death Eaters ruin a good thing. As he says when he walks into the magically enlarged tent, “I love magic.”
Although the tents weren’t magically bigger on the inside, I experienced my own Triwizard Tournament this past weekend. I attended the total eclipse of the sun at the height of totality in Madras, Oregon. I fully admit, I wasn’t terribly excited about this venture when my husband first suggested we travel out for it. I knew we could experience the eclipse from our own driveway, why travel to the dry, dusty, rain shadow desert of eastern Oregon? Could totality really be worth all the fuss?
In a word, yes, it is absolutely worth every ounce of fuss.
A Moment of Community
The two minutes of darkness the shadow of the moon cast upon us is among the most unique in my life. Watching complete darkness fall mid-morning, experiencing sunset on all sides of the sky, defies adequate description. My body chilled experiencing how strange it was but also because the temperature dropped so sharply.
Beyond the moment though, was the experience of camping with several hundred other people out for the exact same experience we desired. People from all over the world surrounded us, all of us drawn together by a shadow. Rarely have I been in a social environment where I’ve seen happier people spending days without warm showers or regular running water. The awesome power of nature drew us all together and cultivated a powerful bond.
Before it began, a mimosa was poured into my cup; a toast to this shared experience. As the sun rewarmed our faces, we shared stories of who we were and where we traveled from. Photos and videos were exchanged on the spot, emails to remain connected.
After recent public events turned terribly tragic, there was reassurance for me in the basic good nature of human beings in a campground in Madras, Oregon. I found far more in that shadow than I expected and for that I am forever thankful.
Featured image taken by Chris Mathewson, Madras, Oregon August 21st 2017 and shows Baily’s Beads or the Diamond Ring effect.