August 21, 2017.11:35am. MST.
An overwhelmingly beautiful diamond circle emerges deep in the black sky, stars shine, and a 360˚ horizon surrounds us. A universe reveals itself.
Total, Totality, Totally. A universe that is alive. The moment, for me, defies description, explanation, photography.
And then it’s gone. The sun shines again. Brilliant.
I knew that a solar eclipse would happen August 21 2017. That millions of people would be there to watch. That the crowds would be massive.
I didn’t plan on joining the masses of crazy solar eclipse viewers in the Path of Totality even though our youngest child lives in Victor Idaho, on the centre line, with her family.
I would read about it instead, and then watch it on the news.
I began to read. Globe and Mail. July 31, 2017. “Into the Shadow” by Ivan Semeniuk “A total eclipse is one of life’s genuine experiences. …a fleeting rare phenomena.” I am told.
I start (too slowly I am about to find out) to search for safe shades for solar viewing. Calgary will experience a partial eclipse, 77%. Shades for safe solar viewing were sold out weeks ago.
No Problem. I’ll buy them on line. I need those special shades for partial eclipse viewing. Not as easy to find as I had thought, they’re all sold out. Back ordered. Delivery not guaranteed. And then luck. There is a solar eclipse viewing kit for sale at All-Star Telescope. Ross drives 75km to a farm near Carstairs to pick it up. The last of the solar viewing glasses.
We can now view the partial eclipse safely from our home in Calgary.
“Look at this.” I say, reading the booklet enclosed in the kit. “It says if natural wonders were rated on a scale of 1-10, a partial eclipse might be a 7, but a total eclipse is 1,000,000!!! That’s off the chart.”
My heart rate starts to ramp up, beats fast. I read more articles. “Don’t be left in the dark wondering. If you are anywhere near the Path of Totality you must make every effort to get there, those distant voices on the internet tell me.”
I don’t have time. I tell myself. I’ve had a wonderful summer travelling and visiting with family and now that I’m finally home my week here is too busy. I have work to do. Seventy- seven per cent eclipse here at home will have to do.
Curiosity takes hold as I read more. “A Total Solar Eclipse is breath taking and hard to fathom when it happens. And. Impossible to forget when it’s over.”
“Okay. That’s it. We have to get there.” I know what Ross will say. “We’ll just cancel all our appointments.” I continue.
“We should sleep on it and decide tomorrow,” he says. “It’s a 1200km drive and the roads will be very busy to say nothing of the long wait at the border crossing. But we could go I think.”
“I have a surprise for you.” I tell our daughter when I call her at 7am the next morning. “We’re leaving on a little road trip tomorrow. We should be there on Sunday. We’ve found all our old camping gear in case we need it, because of the traffic jams, and we’re loading the car now.”
“Wow! Yea! We’ll have a family Eclipse festival.” Erin says. Mike (our son) and his boys (our grandchildren) will be there too.
I spend the rest of the day baking double chocolate chip cookies. Eclipse food. For the soul.