Can you stand to read one last word on the Great Eclipse of 2017? It being the first and last total eclipse of my life, it was great to me, anyway, and I’m sure it was for you.
Not content to see just 98 or 99 percent of the eclipse, we drove to Upstate South Carolina to the house of our son Jerry and his wife, Michelle, to catch the celestial event in its totality. They live on a lake, and they took us, their daughter Kelsey and their friend Jason out on their pontoon boat to watch the sky.
You probably saw the crowds on television turning out for the eclipse; we encountered none of that. The road to their house and back home was lonely, and our boat was one of perhaps three on the lake that day. All the company we had was a big bright sun, except when it was blotted out by a big dark moon, and an eagle that lives on the lake.
Our radio was set on a station out of Greenville, and each tune played before the eclipse bore the word “moon” in the title: Bad Moon Rising, and, of course, every song from the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon. Later, after the eclipse, the songs all dealt with the sun: Here Comes the Sun, etc. You get it.
We watched through the eclipse glasses as the chunk of dark moon grew thinner. When we got hungry for the fat sandwiches Michelle had made, I helped set up the table that attached to the deck. The tabletop had four small round holes in it, and when I held it up to the vanishing light, the sun cast four distinct crescent moons on the deck. It was the eclipse quadrupled.
We stayed out there for hours. Finally, the new moon moved westward across the face of the sun, blocking the light that takes 8.5 minutes to reach Earth. The August day grew cooler and the sky darker.
Not dark enough, though. We thought everything would get so dark that stars and planets would appear above, but it did not. At its darkest, I thought the afternoon looked about like 9 o’clock on a summer night.
On the shore, cicadas suddenly kicked into gear very loudly. We took off our dark glasses, finally able to watch the total eclipse unaided. The corona encircled the black sun for more than two minutes as we marveled at nature’s best show.
The sun and moon continued their dance, carrying through as day regained the sunshine that was once again too hot to stare upon unaided.
Not every day can be that spectacular, of course, but every other one is a keeper, too.
Reach Glynn Moore at (706) 823-3419