It was a day when we felt joined by something so far beyond us, we couldn’t help but pause to observe it in awe. After months and weeks of listening to sad, fearful and appalling news, it was something that brought people together in a good way and gave us a chance to dwell on an event over which we had no control. Yet, it seemed to bring joy and a feeling of camaraderie with the entire country. Even if you weren’t in the path of totality or weren’t able to watch it in person, you probably saw it unfold on TV or the Internet. Solar Eclipse Day 2017, when the shadow of the moon swept across the heartland and many people stopped to look up (with the proper eye protection!) and to appreciate a most magnificent display of celestial beauty. I dare to say nothing we could produce here on earth could rival the show the sun and moon managed to put on for most of the afternoon, and we didn’t have to buy tickets to attend.
Watching people’s reactions to the eclipse was almost as much fun as the event itself. Many who traveled hundred, even thousands, of miles seemed more than willing to put up with crowds and inconveniences for the chance to see the moon blot out the sun. How good to know we have not gone beyond the ability to appreciate such a natural event. People even applauded at the peak and when the diamond effect beamed sunlight past the moon’s rim.
Where I live, we experienced about an 80% eclipse and that was quite amazing. Clouds threatened to blot out the sky, but at the moment of the most coverage they added to the eerie, hazy gray light cast by the sliver of sun.
I’m sure the towns and communities that were in the path of the eclipse are happy and relieved it is finally over, after a summer of so much hype, but a takeaway lesson for everyone might be to appreciate what is beyond us, and to let it take us out of ourselves, if even just for a few moments. Let the summer of ’17 go down as the one when, for a few hours, we looked up.