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.
Hi Nancy: Thank you for this great description of your experiences relating to the eclipse. We were at a fishing lodge in Ontario on Crotch Lake…no I did not misspell its name. We thought we would experience the 70% eclipse; however, besides the sun getting a bit dimmer and the air noticeably cooling a few degrees, it was not too eventful. Rachel was ready with Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart on her iPhone. We are nearing the tail end of this long trip out East. Rachel got the keys to her dorm and we have most of the things we think she needs. She is familiarizing herself with the campus and loves everything McGill. We think Rachel is better prepared for this next step than we ever were. I would like to hear more about the eclipse when we meet in Canmore.
Take care,George George E. Kim, Ph.D.
Consultant – NANOTECHNOLOGY
Materials and Surface Engineering
Perpetual Technologies, Inc.
Hi George It was wonderful to hear of your eclipse experience at Crotch lake. I’ll have to look up Total Eclipse of the Heart that Rachel was “ready with”. In fact our hearts all eclipsed that that moment of Totality…it was an awesome sight. I am finally coming back down to earth, now, a week later. See you soon. Nancy
HI Nancy. Great to read of your adventures again. My daughter saw the eclipse in Oregon. Like you she
said it was an event of a lifetime. Next one right over Mtl. Hope you come. Good for you seizing the opportunity! Hugs
Wonderful to hear from you Helen and am happy that your daughter saw the eclipse in Oregon. To witness a Total eclipse is an amazing personal experience. Thanks for sharing her thoughts.
For sure I’ll be there for the next one in Canada…April 8 2024!! Inshallah. I’ll study the weather reports for clear days… my sister has saved a room for us at her home in PEI where it will touch the west end of the island and of course Montreal would also be a good place. It all depends on that spring weather.Let’s keep in touch.
In the meantime we’re going to be in the Andaman Islands January 31 2018 and, although I didn’t plan it that way, there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse that evening.
Thanks again for your comment Helen.
And then what happened ?!?!?!? We must hear of your reactions. Carpe diem, Sheila
Thanks Sheila. Seeing a Total Solar Eclipse is an intensely wonderful, personal experience that is difficult, impossible for many of us to describe. I’m finally coming back down to earth. A whole new universe has opened up and I’m learning more about it. “Eclipse. Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon” by Frank Close describes the mesmerizing experience many people have of total solar eclipse and the science, history, literature, myths. Fascinating. I’ve read it once this week and have started it again, to keep hold of the event.
Thanks for such a poetic rendering of your Eclipstival. It made me think about how nature’s quirks and wonders make us so deeply human and full of wonder.
Thank you for your beautiful and thoughtful comment Sarah. I wish you could have been there with us.