Total Eclipse of the Sun
– Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler – (because those of us that know the song were thinking of it anyway)
The Dane and I had planned to go to the Beach for an extended weekend to visit our little kiddos for this past weekend.
About a month ago, we discovered that it would probably be a very bad idea as there were wild predictions about how many people were going to flood the state to view the Eclipse because we were expected to get totality along the I-85 corridor.
As a result, we ended up with an extended weekend Staycation. We decided early on that we really wanted to find things around us to do that were fun and probably not things that we would normally choose.
We took long drives out into the unknown and then visited a few of our favorite haunts. It’s been great fun.
The cherry on top was the Great American Eclipse, which we decided to view where we could relax, enjoy a meal and see what there was to see.
These weeks prior to the Eclipse have been somewhat strange. There was even a serious newscast about not being scared if you spotted Lizard Man, a local phenomenon much like Big Foot.
Somewhat curious about this whole thing, I did some research. I found an article that said that birds stop chirping during an eclipse, that dogs will bark, and the temperature will drop suddenly.
We started out our journey just after noon. Probably much later than most folks interested in the phenomenon started theirs, but we knew we weren’t going to get off too far.
The first thing that struck me as odd was how light (and I do mean light) the traffic was. We passed only a handful of cars on an otherwise very crowded highway.
When we arrived at the venue we’d chosen, there were already people viewing. The crowd was lively. One guy that we spoke with told us that he was from “way up in North Carolina. Started to head down to Charleston, but the weather down there is overcast, so I headed this way. Might not get totality for long, but I think it’ll be worth it.” This gentleman also happened to have his blue-tick hound with him. I patted the dog on the head and thought about the article I’d read. I was pretty sure I’d know when we hit totality.
The Dane and I sat down and ordered lunch. A nice slice of pizza for him and an anitpasta salad for me. The weather was HOT as we sat there waiting for the moon to cover the sun.
I recalled that there was an Eclipse when I was in Middle School. In my memories, I found fear and loathing that somehow I would go blind. Back then, there was a pulse of excitement in school with kids building view finders in science class. I recall that I was terrified to go out that day and am pretty sure that I missed all but seeing the day darken from a classroom window. I’m guessing that would have put that day on Monday, February 26, 1979.
This time, I was determined not to miss it.
That all changed the first time The Dane put on his solar glasses, I felt an inward panic. I’m pretty sure I blurted out to him, “Don’t! You’re going to go blind.” It took a moment for me to get my panic under control. Outwardly, I could see that others were doing the same thing he was and that he was doing it correctly. I’d watched videos, made sure we had the right glasses and fretted over all manner of things before we got there. But it was all on the inside. I never really voiced any of my fears to him.
The Dane stared at me quizzically. It was loud all around us and I’m pretty sure he didn’t understand what I was saying. I quickly decided to wave it off, but inside I wanted to grab his hand and run inside.
We ate while watching all the people around us having fun. The waitress came and asked if I’d like a pair of glasses. I thanked her but declined as I had my trusty pair in my purse. Geez, they were still in my purse. I hadn’t looked once. Slowly, I swallowed down my fear and reached to get my glasses. I put them on and made myself turn to the sun. That moment was awe-inspiring. The moon was about halfway over the sun and creating a reverse crescent. Around the sun/moon there was a diffuse misty sunlight that glowed.
After that first glance, I got into the swing of it. Alternately chatting and viewing the sun through my glasses.
Not long after, it started to get dim. The Dane and I switched from our sunglasses to our regulars while we continued to view the sun. A short time later, the street lights came on. I took a moment to locate the hound. He was still in his place seemingly unaware of the events around him. The day grew dimer and dimer until day turned to night.
All fell quiet and the blue tick hound began to howl. It sent shivers down my spine.
The Dane and I intentionally didn’t get filters for our cameras, because we wanted to share the moment of totality together as real spectators. The moment after our world fell into darkness, he kissed me and said, “I’m so glad I have you to spend this moment with.” Ditto, darling, ditto.
The world did not remain dark for long. It left as quickly as it came.
As it became light again, we noticed that our shadows were very weird, small and squatty. Others took notice and we all took a moment to stand together with these small, squatty shadows before us. It was a bit unnerving and simultaneously, we all laughed that nervous laugh that says ‘everything is going to be alright…isn’t it?’
I’m not sure things are all going to be alright (these are tumultuous times), but at least we didn’t see Lizard Man.
If you got to view the Eclipse, I’d love to hear about your experience.
Until next time, thanks for stopping by!