Solar Eclipse 2017
Sorry for the lapse between blog updates but I have been away on holiday in Kansas City, Missouri to see the eclipse and do a bit of sight-seeing.
Before launching into a play-by-play of our day, I should back up and tell you we did quite a lot of prep for the eclipse. When I say ‘we,’ I mean my husband Andrew did a lot of prep. He read up on it and studied maps and charts and even invested in special equipment (a special lens for his camera). It wouldn’t be an understatement to say he took this all very seriously and was even a little stressed out about it.
My only concern was not wanting to get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on our way to the eclipse party at the university. Hence, we set our alarm for 7am so we could get on the road to Liberty by around 8am or soon thereafter (a full five + hours before the eclipse was due to start).
We found the university (William Jewell) and the stadium parking lot with no problem and there were still plenty of spaces. Had a quick chat with another early bird before walking downtown to grab brunch at Ginger Sue’s.
Since it was still sunny when we set off we left most of our stuff (including umbrellas) in the car. However, the closer we got to the restaurant dark clouds started rolling in and we heard the occasional rumble of thunder in the distance and even saw a bit of lightning.
We managed to get through brunch (after trying unsuccessfully to each eat two of the world’s largest pancakes) and were walking down the street when it finally started to rain. Since City Hall (where we were checking out a Little Free Library)was heavily air conditioned and not that big, I suggested we seek refuge in a store called Petals & Potpourri. The proprietor couldn’t have been nicer letting us browse at our own pace knowing full well we were there to stay out of the rain. Partly out of guilt and partly out of liking shiny things, I saw a necklace I fancied that had an interchangeable centerpiece. Since Andrew didn’t seem to object I bought it. He even suggested I pick up several of the centerpieces since they probably wouldn’t be easy to find back in Columbus.
Eventually the rain started letting up a little so we decided to brave it and make our way back to campus. I couldn’t wait to get to the car and put my warm and cozy sweatshirt over my wet shoulders.
I didn’t have the sweatshirt on too long before the clouds parted (just like in the opening credits of “The Simpsons”) and the sun came back out. We grabbed our chairs and stuff and headed out to the stadium to find a good spot on the AstroTurf field. While Andrew fiddled with his camera I pulled out my book and sunglasses and worked on my tan while stretched out on the canvas chair that came with its own footrest.
The stadium gradually got busier and busier, though nowhere near as crowded as it might get for something like a concert or a big sporting event. Still, it was enough people (though probably half were students) to call the event a success.
While Andrew studied the eclipse almost non-stop for the just over an hour duration, I kept glancing up through my special glasses while also people watching (wondering why didn’t we think to get a souvenir t-shirt?) and reading my book.
As it got closer to totality, Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was piped through the speakers. When the sun got completely blacked out a cheer went up from the crowd.Then came the climax when we could take our glasses off to see Bailey’s Beads followed by the ultimate in nature’s wonders, ‘the diamond ring.’ I was so overcome with emotion I quite honestly bawled my eyes out. If you’ve ever witnessed that you know how beautiful that was. I don’t think anything else in my life will even come close to how amazing that was. We were then serenaded to George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” which seemed as appropriate a choice as any for that moment in time.
I feel triple blessed because technically this was the third eclipse Andrew and I shared together. The first was an annular* eclipse back in May 1994 while we were both still students at Kent State University.
* The name “annular” comes from the Latin word for ring, “annulus.” These eclipses are named for their darkest, or maximum, point even if it only lasts less than a second. If the characteristic ring of fire is visible from even just one location, the whole eclipse is called an annular solar eclipse.
Then in 1999 we booked a coach trip to see a solar eclipse from Rouen, France (home of the Joan of Ark Cathedral). Unfortunately it was a lot more overcast then, so we didn’t get to see as much of the totality (or Bailey’s Beads or the diamond ring either). However, unlike where we were at the stadium, there were quite a lot of birds around and it was interesting to see how they reacted to it. They seemed to be totally confused and flocked to the trees, quieting down quite a lot exhibiting their typical night time behavior.
Andrew has already started researching the next solar eclipse which should be visible from Ohio in April of 2024. See you there!
Here’s a couple links to our pictures on flickr:
Have a good Labor Day weekend everyone!