Eclipse 2017

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At long last the promised eclipse post! It’s been a month since we experienced totality in Jackson, and almost every day since I think about the dark moon covering the sun.

The morning of the eclipse was (thankfully!) very sunny and clear. I’d spent the days leading up to the eclipse checking my weather forecast obsessively and reading about eclipses and eclipse history. I set out four glasses of water to soak up the sun rays in order to infuse with eclipse energy (click here to read more about eclipse rituals.) While the sun began to eclipse, we ran around the yard snapping pictures, blowing off steam, and checking the progress of the moon. Kevin and my dad set up their phones on chairs to record the view of the Tetons during the eclipse. About ten minutes from totality the air began to get very cold, so we all had to run and grab extra layers. The light took on a subdued unusual tinge and shadows began to darken and intensify. Soon, the light was almost silver, akin to moonlight. As the moon slid over the sun completely, an orange rim appeared all around the horizon, as if we were encased in a 360 degree sunset. The sky was deep indigo blue, and planets appeared. The sun itself was black, wreathed by the silver corona and near the edges of the sun, a rim of orange was visible. We all stood in amazement, crying and laughing and cheering with our neighbors. I only let myself take a few pictures so I could be present to experience the moment fully. The two minutes and thirty seconds of totality felt extremely short. The instant the moon moved away from the sun, a bright light exploded from the upper right rim and the world was thrown back into sunlight. The light remained silver-y for a few moments, but the day was swiftly returned to sunshine and warmth. We all waited outside and chatted until the sun was fully uncovered again and the “eclipse water” was ready to drink.

Afterward, we all felt very tiny in the world, but simultaneously very comforted to be part of something so amazing, even in a small way. I loved the raw chorus of whoops and cheers from our neighbors as the total unreality of the moment was shared by everyone. We watched a TED talk about eclipses, and the speaker, David Baron, spoke about his experience with his first total eclipse in Aruba.  “For the first time in my life, I just felt viscerally connected to the universe in all of its immensity. Time stopped, or it just kind of felt nonexistent, and what I beheld with my eyes — I didn’t just see it, it felt like a vision. And I stood there in this nirvana for all of 174 seconds — less than three minutes — when all of a sudden, it was over. The sun burst out, the blue sky returned, the stars and the planets and the corona were gone. The world returned to normal. But I had changed. […] when I think of my own mortality –and I do, a lot –when I think of everyone I have lost, my mother in particular, what soothes me is that moment of awe I had in Aruba. I picture myself on that beach, looking at that sky, and I remember how I felt. My existence may be temporary, but that’s OK because, my gosh, look at what I’m a part of.”

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