Saturday, August 02, 2008

Russia's Total Eclipse: A Headache to Some

Of course you've heard about the total elipse over Russia yesterday. Millions of people witnessed it midmorning in Novosibirsk, the largest city in Siberia. It was mid-afternoon before a partial eclipse passed over us here the Rostov area, three time zones west of Novosibirsk.

View of the eclipse from St Basil's Cathedral, Red Square in Moscow.
(Photo courtesy of AP.)

I observed an interesting eclipse-related phenomenon. Last evening one friend, let's call him Andrey, complained of a headache.

It's because of the eclipse, he said. It's the electro-magnetic waves caused by the eclipse. And I'm not the only one. My sister has a headache too and also Karina is having problems with her heart.

Quite often I find myself skeptical here of what I consider (weird) unsubstantiated connections between cause and effect. For example, that a person will get sick from drinking anything colder than room temperature. (A blog topic in and of itself. . .) Or that sitting directly on an un-upholstered chair -- or a chair without a cloth mat of some sort (a cold chair) -- will cause infertility. (Please correct me if I've been misinformed on that.) I tend to slip into being an arrogant American and think to myself, just another old Russian superstition. And of course, as an educator, my first reaction is to provide enlightenment.

Well if an eclipse brings on headaches, then everybody in Russia would have a headache, I said.

No, not so because not everybody is sensitive to the magnetic waves.

Hmmm. I didn't have an answer for that one. I decided to get more information on the subject, who knows, maybe there's something to this. Did a quick Google search last evening and came up with nothing, really. Today I'll try to talk with at least three people about this and get their perspective.

Anyway, we're all in agreement that an eclipse did happen and that it's fascinating. Thanks to Russia Today and YouTube for a glimpse at the rare and wonderful phenomenon.

* * * * *

This morning arriving at the orphanage, I let myself in through the gated outdoor play area. Preschoolers were darting around our legs and apparently I asked one of the caretakers how it was going.

Oh it's bad, it's really bad

Da? How so?

Well after that eclipse yesterday, we have all sorts of problems. Animals were affected by the eclipse and the children feel it too. They're sick and upset.

The children are sick? I saw children galloping around and cavorting as usual.

Well, look at that boy there. She motioned to a little guy 15 feet away, sitting on a rug and whimpering, whining about something.

See, he's all upset after the eclipse. It really affected him.

As I recall, he can be little fussy and whiny on non-eclipse days too. Maybe it wasn't the eclipse after all. Maybe he accidentally ate something cold. Maybe the thought of ice cream floated through his little three-year-old brain, caused a chemical reaction of some sort and that has caused all this.


Anonymous said...

Solzhenitsyn has died. I just this year obtained his Troitse-Lykovo home address (Moscow) from noted historian V.I. Medvedev, in that I might tender the man questions regarding the Oryol Front of 1941-42.

Sorry to interrupt your fine piece on the eclipse, but I must ask of you: Might you soon do a piece on Solzhenitsyn?

How are the citizens of Rostov responding to his passing?

Nettie said...

Hello again Eileen. I can't wait to hear the results of your research on this topic. I have also been warned countless times about eating ice cream or drinking anything cold. A sure way to become sick. Here's one that I bet you haven't heard...(actually, maybe working in an orphanage, you have.) That if an infant boy sits too long in a wet diaper he will become infertile (supposedly the effect of the heat on his family jewels.) Here's another one...that a father's alcoholism can cause a child to have birth defects (such as mental retardation). On the other hand, this year I learned a cure for hiccups...which works. Just press your thumb and pinky fingers together (both hands) and go about your business. In less than a minute you will be cured.

I love Russia!