On Monday, August 21st, our nation collectively looked skyward to witness the moon eclipsing the sun. We watched the event unfold through solar glasses as the sun appeared to be eaten by the moon, looking much like a vanilla wafer with larger and larger bites taken out. As the sun grew “smaller” I expected darkness to come more quickly. However, it wasn’t until the moment of totality that it was as if a light switch turned off the sun and the world was submerged in darkness. The sun’s corona glowed around the outline of the moon and for two short minutes the effect was breathtaking and awe inspiring.
My husband, Joe, and I traveled from our home in Indiana where the eclipse would be greater than 90%, to visit friends in Nashville, Tennessee, which was in the path of totality. We were invited to enjoy the eclipse out on Lake Cumberland on a boat with their grandkids and other family members. This made a wonderful vantage point with a great view of the sky. Having people in boats nearby added to the enjoyment as we all oohed, aahed, gasped, and cheered collectively. Someone on shore set off fireworks to celebrate.
What made the event all the more special was how our entire country seemed to pause from life and take the time to participate, whether in person or watching it via television or the Internet. Joe and I were in contact throughout the day with other friends and family members from Oregon to the east coast. In one photo you can see my daughter’s work group at Eli Lilly stepping outside to take in the view (Jenny is the tallest in the back). Across the country school children witnessed the event. In Nashville, most schools and many businesses took the day off. You’ve probably heard that the eclipse cost American businesses $700 million in lost productivity.
I argue that it was a worthwhile investment. We need more events that draw us together in ways that make us look up. We need to make more memories we can share. Memories we can talk about again when the eclipse comes closer to home in 2024. We need to cheer with strangers for more than sporting events.
The science is growing stronger each year that indicates we spend too much time on screens and too little time in human interaction; too much time indoors and too little time enjoying nature; might I add too much time looking down and too little time looking up. The eclipse may be over but let’s continue to look up together.
Where were you for the eclipse? What were your experiences? Share in the comments...