I know, I know: all the hype. All the funny looking glasses, the over-the-top festivals, the little-examined privilege of expending vast resources to grok a two minute look at some natural phenomena that actually seems to happen more often than the hipsters would suggest. All of that. And yet.
I’ll spare the details of my own journey to the dark side of the sun, but I will say this: what compares to looking up at the noonday sun, to find it entirely hidden for a brief moment in time by the fullness of the new, otherwise invisible, moon? Nothing I have seen or imagined in this lifetime. The swiftly encroaching darkness, the vision of Venus visible at high noon, the dusky sunrise/sunset glow visible simultaneously east and west. The whooping and hollering of my campmates. (Okay, that could have turned into silence and I would have been okay.) A stillness seemed to descend along with the dawning awareness that, unlike most other things in life, something was happening RIGHT NOW that was entirely new and never-before experienced by anyone in attendance.
Does the mind now turn to April 8, 2024, the next total solar eclipse visible in North America? Why yes. Yes, it does.
P.S. A shout out to the celestial watchers from the Maya on down to contemporary scientists–how amazing is it that our collective understanding of the cosmos is so deep that we actually know in advance how such cosmic events will unfold, to the second? No small feat. Wow.