Last week, most of America tuned in for a spectacular celestial show. I don’t remember ever being this excited about an eclipse. Then again, I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a total one.
I was blessed to have family right in the path of totality. So the Saturday before the big event, hubby and I loaded up the cat and dog and our solar glasses and headed for Murphy, North Carolina. When we hit Atlanta, it looked like everyone else was doing the same thing.
The next day, the rest of the crew arrived—my daughter and son-in-law from Connecticut, my son-in-law’s parents from Louisiana, and my two critique partners from Florida. Karen, my one CP, bought T-shirts to commemorate the event, so the day of the eclipse, we three writers were decked out in our matching eclipse T-shirts.
By noon on Monday, the whole gang was ready with our lawn chairs and NASA-approved solar glasses. We’d even cut some of the extra glasses apart and used the filters for our cameras.
Then it started, the first bite out of the sun. It didn’t take long to notice an appreciable difference in temperature. When we were setting up the lawn chairs, it was blazing hot. It felt more like Florida than North Carolina. But once the eclipse started, the temperature became quite comfortable.
The sliver of sun got smaller and smaller. Then came totality, and we were able to take our glasses off. All that was visible was the corona around the sun, which can be viewed with the naked eye. It’s only visible during a total eclipse.
The difference between partial and total is like night and day. Literally. For almost two and a half minutes, it was dark. The cicadas even got confused and all started chirping. Then the sun started to reappear, and the glasses went back on.
In the seconds preceding and following totality, if you lay a white sheet on the ground, you can see light waves moving across it. While we were filming it, my daughter’s dog had to get in on the action.
I have to say, I didn’t stay outside for all of the last half of the eclipse. It was the same thing we had already witnessed, except in reverse. But that two and a half minutes of totality is something I’ll never forget. In fact, we’re already making plans for our next one, which will take place on April 8, 2024. Unfortunately, I don’t have family in the path of this one. But we’re thinking about Hot Springs, Arkansas…