I closed my computer sometime around 7 pm Saturday night and I placed it on my desk. I didn’t touch it again until Monday night around 10 pm. That probably shouldn’t be a big deal – or an anything deal. But, since typing out words is what I do for both profit and for pleasure, it kind of was a big deal. In a miniature deal kind of way. A laundry list of events and activity took place over that short time period. Most of it eclipse related.
Living in the “path of totality” the hype was paramount. Constant reminders to be aware of the traffic and to not burn your retinas to a crisp and to order your glasses in time and if you couldn’t locate any glasses than to be forced to purchase some for $15. Stores were selling out of moon pies and I-85 had flashing signs urging caution on the roads and it was all a little apocalyptic crazy.
When I read stuff like that something happens to me. I’m sure it’s a character flaw. I just instantaneously think less of whatever is happening to cause all of the commotion. I suddenly no longer want to participate.
Hannah had purchased eclipse glasses for the kids and I months ago. I assumed we’d all watch it. But I just couldn’t muster up all the excitement that I saw bubbling over everywhere else.
Our house was packed to capacity the night before – all beds and sofas taken by friends from out of town who wanted to sit in the path of totality. We ate breakfast together. Watched informative YouTube videos and live coverage on the west coast. We ate lunch. (Have you ever tasted a pickled green bean? It has nothing to do with the eclipse, other than the fact that the eclipse is the day our family first tried them. They’re delicious.) And then it was our turn. Chairs were put outside. Eclipse glasses distributed. The clouds were at first blocking the sun and we figured maybe that was they way it was going to go.
And then. Well. Then the show actually started. The clouds breezed away and the moon crept its fantastic self right on over in front of the sun.
Y’all. I couldn’t believe the magic. There’s no exact describing it and I cannot even fully understand why it was so incredible and impressive to me.
The moon taking its bite out of the sun – that’s what Otto and Piper kept calling it. The shadows shifting. The sun fading. The darkness coming. A rooster crowed. (That got our little crowd pretty stoked.) The horses in the field across the street trotted themselves to the barn. The temperature felt pleasantly mild. These gorgeous little dancing curves of sunlight and shadow sprinkled in the dirt under our familiar oak tree. Until finally, the moon blocked out all the light. And Tom started sprinting toward the edge of the yard and half of us sprinted after him – to watch the glow of what looked like a sunset settle in front of Paris Mountain. The totality. All of the sun’s bold bright light covered by the moon. It was like night. In the middle of the afternoon.
The slow reintroduction of the sun back to its rightful order on the earth. The light glowing and dreamy.
I kept staring through my flimsy little protective eye shields for all the remaining glimpses. Bergen shouted his farewells to the eclipse, declaring “I shall miss thee, eclipse.”
And then it was done. Complete. Over. The afternoon all regular again and the sky the same as we think it always is and the lawn emptied and the cars drove away and the kids and I had a quiet dinner in a quiet house.
I’m sure its beauty was in its rarity. Its beauty in its unexpectedness, despite its predictability. The surprise in finding out something that was actually not a surprise was indeed surprisingly delightful.