Monthly Musings

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Grace Space

SHELBURNE – It feels fitting that what for many was a once in a lifetime spatial experience happened in April, poetry month. In January, as I reflected on the upcoming total solar eclipse and the violence around the world, I wrote the following poem for PoemTown St. Johnsbury.


The moon borrows

light from the sun

shares it with us,

lighting our way in darkness

until, in total alignment,

it totally eclipses our star.

Then the sun caresses it

with its brilliant corona.

Why can’t we do this

with each other?

The poem is currently posted at Wandering Vine, a multicultural restaurant and catering service in St. Johnsbury.

I made a big decision in January. Since the only sensation I have in my feet is pain, I decided to stop driving. I donated my car to Vermont Public and Good News Garage. They gave it to a young, single dad in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He wrote me a thank you note and enclosed pictures. It is the first car he has owned that passed inspection. I put my hand over my heart–which inspired another poem.

Pause for Peace

Place your hand over your heart.

Feel the rhythm of your life.

Breathe in counting to four.

Breathe out to a count of eight.

Repeat until this feels natural,

calming, soothing, peaceful.

Send yourself a love note of

kindness, gratitude, and peace.

Share this peace practice

with family and friends.

Try it with strangers.

Meet them heart to heart.

This is where we can all

pause for peace.

“Pause for Peace” is part of PoemTown Randolph and is displayed at Wilson Tire in Randolph, Vermont. It will be published later this month in an anthology.

I was planning my day on Monday, April 8, and noticed there was fine print on my eclipse glasses: “Do not use after eye surgery.” My final post-op appointment after cataract surgery was scheduled for Wednesday. I tweaked my plans, having carefully ascertained the day before where the sun would be at 3:26 in the afternoon, the beginning of totality.

I turned on Vermont Public at 3 p.m., and watched their live eclipse broadcast with Jane Lindholm and Mark Breen at the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury. I was at an eclipse party without having to go anywhere—my eyes perfectly safe looking through their solar-filtered telescope. I was amazed at how quickly the sky darkened.

At 3:26, I stepped out onto my deck and saw the sun’s corona with a plasma plume rising from the southwest quadrant. A rosy, 360-degree sunset held the earth, as the sun’s corona appeared to hold the moon. WOW! With millions of other people on the track of totality, I was standing in Grace Space.

May totality always be a reality.

Trish Passmore Alley holds an MBA in Organizational Development and Behavior. Her career has included teaching at the collegiate level, owning several small businesses in manufacturing, engineering, and retail, and founding and operating three social profits in Greensboro.  A published author and poet, she posts brief, monthly blogs at She now lives in Shelburne.

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