As a project in high school, a month before graduation, everyone was asked to write a Bucket List of 10-20 items. Though high school was ages ago, I still continue to add to that bucket list….. it’s now 7 pages long and growing. (Click here to see current bucketlist)
Today another item got crossed off that list…
I’ve seen a solar eclipse 3 other times in my life but all of them were partial. (The last solar eclipse was from a stranger’s seat on an airplane over Australia).
So early this morning I hopped in the car and drove north. Destination: somewhere in the Tennessee mountains. I made a conscious decision to leave my camera at home, which as a photographer was a hard decision to make. (I seriously carry my camera everywhere, even to the grocery store). Today, however, I just wanted to unplug, get lost in the moment, and take it all in with my eyes instead of through the camera lens.
Yes I procrastinated. Didn’t actually make the decision to go until 11:30pm last night, thinking I’ll just do one some other time in some other year … When we left home early this morning I had no idea how, where, or even IF we’d find eclipse glasses. My flurry of phone calls (Lowes, Home Depot, pharmacies, local hardware stores and libraries) turned up nothing. A little apprehension, but I knew it wouldn’t matter because we could make a projector out of paper. When we stopped for gas and Cuban sandwiches in Blue Ridge, GA, someone mentioned a place a mile down the road that “might” have glasses. Yes They Did. SCORE! Thank you Mercier Orchards for having solar glasses and for not price gouging. We will be back later today for a few celebratory drinks.
With our $1 solar glasses in hand, we finally relaxed and took in the beauty as we traveled a traffic-free winding mountain road. At 1pm we came to an empty field on Scott Mansion Rd in Tellico Plains, TN. Double score.
We set up chairs in the shade, enjoyed our Cubans, ….. and waited.
10% … excitement started to build.
50%… shadows got crisp and we could no longer feel the heat from the blazing sun. The field around us strangely turned gray in color. It was sort of eerie. We started discussing what it must have been like for our ancestors all those years ago, thinking the world was ending. Now we celebrate.
100%… The breeze got cooler and the cicadas in the trees sang loudly. Shadow snakes danced around us. The single cow on the hillside laid down in the field. A few hundred barn swallows swarmed around us. The grandest of all diamond rings dazzled and sparkled. The clouds in the distance looked like the most amazing cotton candy. Several hang-gliders danced in the sky above us. The 360 degree horizon was magnificently dressed in pink, blue, orange, and purple.
Completely overwhelmed, I sat in awe and silence.
Today, 21 August 2017, for a fleeting moment I stood in the Path of Totality.
“Black hole sun won’t you come and wash away the rain. Black hole sun won’t you come won’t you come” Soundgarden lyrics