The eclipse. It happened. It was one of the most amazing events I have ever witnessed. Denice and I opted to observe it in our back yard. The traffic was just too bad to get to our friend’s house who had the better view. There was a viewing party at a nearby city park, but we decided it would be less distracting to just stay home. I’m glad we did. The eclipse was wonderful, and one of the coolest things about it was the subtle changes in the sounds around us. It created a kind of calm, and besides the sudden emergence of cicada song, eerie silence.
We watched it from first contact, through totality, and a few minutes after most of the sunlight returned. Totality was very brief. It was an amazing experience, but I was over in mere moments, and it is sad to think that I will most likely not see another in my life time.
For those of you who are privileged enough to get to see a total solar eclipse in the future, I would advise against wasting time, at least during totality, with trying to get pictures of it. Even if they turn out good, there are a thousand other people out there, with better equipment, who will get better stills and video. Take it in with your own senses. Look around you. The change in the environment is tangible. Feel the temperature drop. Listen as things go silent, and then as the nocturnal beings emerge all around you. Technology is great, but if you try to experience something like this though it, you will be disappointed.
And now it is time to get back to everyday life. Thanks, Nature! That was a great show.
In a little over a day, I am going to experience my first total solar eclipse. The last time this region had one, I was two years old. I actually have some faint memories of the event, but not of the eclipse itself. Well, not this time. I have taken half a day off from work to witness it without distraction. This is a cosmic event that I will not live long enough to see again, and I intend to be present for it.
Getting the viewing glasses was a little bit of a pain. We made the mistake of thinking we would be able to buy them cheap in the week leading up to the eclipse. Yeah, not so much. They quickly sold out, and we were almost left to the mercy of the scalpers. Luckily, thanks to our local news stations vigilant Twitter updates, I was able to get a bead on a couple of pairs for five dollars each (plus a five dollar handling charge, of course), from our local museum. The funny thing is that my work place was able to secure a whole box of five hundred of them for all of us employees the next day. They couldn’t give them away to us, due to liability issues, but they did “sell” them for one dollar apiece as a donation to a charity that the company supports. It was a deal that I couldn’t pass up. I was able to secure an additional seven pairs. That allowed me to supply my mother, her boyfriend, and sister with glasses. I am also selling the left overs for fifteen dollars a pair, and actually making a good profit (yea capitalism!).
We are still debating on a viewing location. I don’t think our backyard will be ideal for this, because of the houses that surround us on all sides. One of the coolest things about the eclipse is the 360-degree sunset that occurs just before totality. I don’t want to miss that. We need a large, flat expanse, or maybe a hilltop. Luckily we have some family who will be watching it from their hilltop house. We may end up there.
So, for all of you who are fortunate enough to experience the Great American Eclipse, happy viewing!