Students were gathered in masses. Strangers talked to each other. Often loaning their special glasses so others could get a glimpse of the solar eclipse. Anticipation was high.

When it was all over and we returned to our class, some noted that they were underwhelmed. Expectations had been higher. Promises of complete darkness, lowering temperatures and the quieting of birds were unkept.

This underwhelming feeling was echoed when I went home and heard from my own children.

Given expectations and hype, the feeling is understandable. Yet at the same time, it also represents a general lack of appreciation for how spectacular and wondrous our very existence is and how rare an occurrence the eclipse was.

Consider this. You are a tiny spec standing on a planet that is rotating on its access at 1,000 miles per hour. Looking up at a moon that is rotating around you on the earth at an even faster 2,288 MPH. On top of this, the spinning planet you are standing on is hurtling you through space, orbiting around the sun at an unfathomable speed of 67,000 MPH.

The precision of this blistering celestial dance means that on occasion, the moon aligns in such a way to block out our sun. While watching this, it may appear that these two bodies are moving at a glacial pace as the moon “slowly” covers the sun. But this is an optical illusion given the speed mentioned earlier. One impacted by the different orbiting planes and of course the extraordinary distance as the sun is 93 million miles away from us and the moon “only’ 200,000.

Our appreciation for our planet and its role in the universe if often lacking – particularly considering how we choose to take care of it.

A few days before the eclipse, the earth let its presence be known on the east coast as an earthquake shook an area ranging from Maryland to Massachusetts. When it was over in a matter of seconds, many didn’t stop to consider the magnitude of what actually happened. Magnitude not captured by a 4.7 number on a Richter scale but by an understanding of what was happening under the ground we stood on.

In New Jersey, just three miles below the surface of the Earth, there are cracks in the Ramapo fault zone. Motion accumulates, stress grows, until something slips. A little like throwing your back out. Or as this article states, “It’s like an old house creaking and groaning.” Because the rocks are so old, hard and dense, earthquakes in the Northeast travel over greater distances. So a slipping rock in New Jersey, causes the ground to rumble five hundred miles away in Maine.

So yes, on one level, we may have found the eclipse underwhelming. Or quickly moved on without giving an earthquake a second thought.

We could, instead, take a step back and really consider the enormity of what is happening every day beneath our feet or in the skies above us. It should invoke awe and wonder for the world in which we live – causing us to feel small in its presence. And perhaps more importantly remind us of how critical it is that we appreciate and take care of it.

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