I thought my husband was just slightly crazy when he told me over a year ago that we WERE going to go to Oregon or Idaho to be in the path of totality for the Eclipse. He was excited. He explained it was a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and he didn’t want us to miss it….
Except, it wasn’t just a once-in-a-lifetime event…. I was in the 8th grade in Portland, OR, in 1979 and my science class was preparing to view the total eclipse that would be happening right there in Portland on February 26th. I was excited back then. We built our boxes and prepared to see what we were told would be the only time in our lives we would get to see the phenomenon.
The morning of February 26 1979 arrived and……. the darkness I was told to expect did not arrive……I was not impressed……and so when my husband told me about this next eclipse and his plans, well, I wasn’t sure it would be worth it. I figured it would just be all hype with no substance.
I should let you know that on the morning of February 26th, 1979, I was missing my mom and we were preparing for her funeral, having lost her just 2 days prior……perhaps that was the real reason the eclipse that day did not impress me. I really don’t remember much about that morning other than we did not plunge into sudden darkness. (though in my research looking back on it, Portland did experience 2 minutes of totality and darkness on that morning, I just didn’t notice).
So to be fair, I decided to go along for the ride with my husband, thrilled at seeing his excitement.
He planned the trip.
He chose where we would see it.
And then he planned more for us to do in the quick 2-night trip.
My husband was in heaven planning this trip to see the total eclipse.
The day arrived and we left Arizona bound for Idaho. The eclipse was the last day of our trip and then we would drive back to Salt Lake City to catch our evening flight home……making the flight concerned us because of the hundreds of thousands said to be flocking to the area of totality….and the warnings to have extra water, cash, gas, emergency rations, just in case we lost cell service and gas stations ran out of gas…. hmmm…. the hype was making it sound as if the apocalypse was coming.
The morning of the eclipse we left our hotel room before the sun came up for the 2-hour drive to Idaho Falls and the city park we had chosen for our viewing spot. We were prepared just in case traffic was as crazy as predicted, giving ourselves plenty of time to arrive before the start of the eclipse.
Once again, my husband’s planning paid off and we arrived at the city park on the south side of Idaho Falls and there were still a few parking spots. Woohoo! We were going to get to see the eclipse.
We walked around the small pond, made small talk with strangers in the line for the bathrooms, and talked with each other to fill the couple of hours before the eclipse would start. Anticipation building as the time grew nearer.
We were ready.
The time arrived for the start of the phenomenon where the moon would come between the sun and the earth and cast us into total darkness……
It was exciting to be standing there with so many others who were just as excited. As the eclipse started and I watched my husband put his special glasses on and look up at the sun, I couldn’t help but smile……he was checking off a bucket list item and he was happy, and THAT made me happy.
It took some time for the moon to move across the sun and as it moved the light became dimmer, and the air cooler.
At one point when the moon covered more than 2/3 of the sun, we noticed that the edges of our shadows were less defined… blurred…. strange…..
We kept watching the moon moving over the sun, amazed at how much light still emanated from the giant star. And then the time came……the moon covered the sun!
And it WAS dark! We could see some stars! The light emanating from the corona of the sun was like that of a full moon night. Wow!
I was IMPRESSED!
We took our special viewing glasses off and for 1 minute and 48 seconds we could look at the sun without them. This was AMAZING!
And then the edge of the sun began to emerge…. time to put those glasses on again.
The total eclipse was amazing and surreal. Day became night, warmth turned cool, and shadows blurred with undefined edges. The biggest star in our universe was suddenly obscured and we were thrilled!
I couldn’t help but think about all those early pioneers and what they must have thought as day became night for just a brief couple of minutes, how strange that must have been.
And I couldn’t help but think about the 1979 eclipse and how it reflected my life at the time, my own personal darkness had come upon me and made the actual eclipse seem uneventful……
This time, despite the worry and storm for us now, I was able to enjoy this eclipse…to see the awesomeness and beauty created by God! I was able to step back for a time and be present, mindful and aware of the greater universe around me. How mighty God is and how amazing this life is!
The total eclipse gave me a wink from God…. that even on the sunniest days, day can become night, but the day will return and everything will be alright.
I am so thankful for my crazy husband who asked me to take a leap and trust him and his planning. This was AMAZING!
And I am so very happy to have taken the leap into the total eclipse…… (go ahead and sing, you know you want to…. total eclipse of the….)