Originally Published: August 21, 2017 6 a.m.
Protect your eyes! Grab those crazy “eclipse glasses.” Then quick, run outside and look up at the moon slipping in front of the sun for a total eclipse.
I thought I would go somewhere along the “path of totality” because scientist Neil Degrasse Tyson said pretty much that we are a bunch of deadbeats if we “miss out.”
Gee, Neil, some of us work, have obligations, can’t exactly go traipsing across the country to get a “good view of celestial magic.” Not that I wouldn’t want to be somewhere else ... it just wasn’t to be.
OK, so if we could be within the path of totality, we would witness one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights ... a total solar eclipse. This “path” is a 70-mile wide swath that runs across 14 states starting in Oregon and heading southeast to its end in South Carolina. We in Arizona only get to see a partial eclipse, which is still suppose to be a thrill.
My brother is retired and heading to South Carolina so he can “enjoy the spectacular.” My girlfriend is going to Idaho to “immerse herself in the spectacle.” And hotels and campsites are booked up along the “path of totality” so much that several places are discouraging visitors. Lincoln City, Oregon, a quiet little beach town, is planning to be so packed with people camping out on the beach that city officials are “worried” there won’t be enough bathrooms. Of course there won’t be! People are going bonkers and they haven’t even seen the eclipse yet!
Oh and the wildlife is going to go predictably crazy. Bats might fly out in the daytime due to confusion. Cicadas will go suddenly silent. Birds will stop singing. Coyotes will come out. Owls will fly. In some areas they predict lighting bugs will flutter. Stars will shine. And there will be a few minutes of madness in the universe, because nothing gets us going sideways like something to do with the moon.
Some nine-month pregnant women are trying to arrange their birthing times to coincide with the solar eclipse. OK, but wouldn’t you miss the whole event if you were having a baby? Some churches have choirs singing, bells ringing and prayer circles. Hospitals and nursing homes are trying to wheel patients to windows so they can get a glimpse. Parks are holding “eclipse parties.”
Best thing about it? This might be the only news to cover! No more discussing politics, war, crime, riots and other disasters in the world. This is the day to “take in” the wonder in the heavens above. As Degrasse Tyson claims, “you must experience the solar eclipse emotionally, spiritually and physically.” Oh, and the greatest sin of all is evidently looking at it later on YouTube because then you are a “cheater.”
Fine, my “eclipse glasses” are ready. I will look up at the prescribed time from my backyard and “experience” the “totality” of what the moon and sun are doing as their paths intertwine. And after a few minutes, I will go back to work, consider the day’s chores, and revel in the knowledge that I witnessed something pretty special. No travel required.
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at email@example.com.