Total Solar Eclipse of My Heart
Aug 11, 9:30 am
Finish my first article about the eclipse, wherein I state that I wish I could see the full eclipse but I won’t because I’m a good student.
Aug 11, 9:31 am
Decide that I’m not that good of a student, and I want to miss the first day of classes to see it.
Aug 11, 9:45 am
Finalize plans with a friend to drive up to Idaho Falls where we will see the totality.
Get many messages from friends pointing out that there’s a dumb typo in my article. Cry.
Aug 18, 5:30 pm
Learn that all gas stations and stores might reach post-apocalyptic levels of gas and food shortages. Buy food and water for three days, just in case. Instagram my salad because it’s so pretty.
Aug 19, all day
Make a very thorough packing list of everything I might need, and pack into tiny backpack. Be proud of packing skills. Forget toothbrush.
Aug 20, 10 am
Leave more than 24 hours before the eclipse starts because although Idaho Falls is only three hours away, I was told to expect bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Aug 20, 1 pm
Get into Idaho Falls, because there was no traffic.
Aug 20, 1:15 pm
Arrive at the apartment where we’re staying and learn there’s no electricity. Sigh.
Aug 20, 2 pm
We go off to the Museum of Idaho, which is a small museum PACKED with space exhibits. Buy lapel pins and pretend they’re earrings. Forget to take pictures of anything else.
Aug 20, 5 pm
Shop at the not-overrun store. Buy candles. Become overjoyed at how cute these cupcakes are. See a man in shiny cowboy boots and hat open carrying an equally shiny wooden pistol. Shake head at Idaho. Feel torn that I’m glad we can buy food but worry that means less people are excited about this event than predicted.
Aug 20, 6 pm
Wonder philosophically about cause and effect.
Which came first: the name Idaho Falls or the falls themselves?
Aug 20, 8 pm
Drive out of the city to find a good viewing spot and enjoy the sunset over acres and acres of farmland. Forget, yet again, to take a picture.
Aug 20, 10
Go to bed because traveling is exhausting.
Aug 21, 2 am
Have a nightmare that I slept through the eclipse.
Aug 21, 8 am
Pack up all our stuff back into the car. Realize that the eclipse doesn’t start for two hours. Stew.
Aug 21, 9:30 am
Get to a public park where we will be watching the eclipse. Don’t trample all over a farmer’s alfalfa field, but am tempted. Realize that I’m a city girl and ask someone who grew up on a farm the difference between hay and straw. Feel slightly more well-rounded.
Aug 21, 9:40 am
Become bored. Start writing this journal.
Aug 21, 9:45 am
Gather up the courage to interview other people waiting for the eclipse. Learn:
- Kids are mostly excited to miss the first day of school
- Most people drove 3–4 hours to get here
- The longest trip I found was a retired couple who came here from San Diego
- People really like my earrings
- Pet a baby cat on a leash
Aug 21, 10:15
The transit begins! Run back to my blanket, throw on my NASA approved glasses. and look at the sun. Become very excited even though the sun is almost completely full.
Aug 21, 10:16
Realize the transit is 90 minutes long, and I can’t spend all of that staring at the sun
Aug 21, 10:45
Wonder if it’s actually getting darker or colder or if I’m just imagining it. Ask my friends, but they’re not sure either.
Aug 21, 11:01
Decide it’s definitely getting cooler and darker. Start getting a little anxious.
Aug 21, 11:09
Overhear, “This is crazy eerie.”
Aug 21, 11:11
Get a text from my mom, who’s watching in Oregon, that she feels odd too.* Decide she’s the cutest.
Aug 21, 11:16
Ask the people sitting near us if they feel strange. They wholeheartedly agree, but their dog is acting totally normal. They show me all their crystals they brought to gather energy from the eclipse and ask for my moon sign. I don’t know.
Aug 21, 11:23
Accidentally put on normal sunglasses instead of NASA glasses and stare straight at the sun. Panic that I’m going to go blind, because sometimes you don’t know that your corneas got burnt until days later.
Aug 21, 11:25
Decide that we think of the reasons the world looks a little off is because the shadows are where they should be, but the light is much dimmer and all the colors look dull. Try to take a picture, fail miserably.
Aug 21, 11:28
Become very cold. Check the weather and see that it’s dropped almost 20 degrees. Get a sweater.
Aug 21, 11:29
Become pretty freaked out.
Aug 21, 11:30
Try to take my sunglasses off and realize I’m not wearing them, the world is just dark.
Aug 21, 11:31
If the sun never comes back, I had a good 23 years.
Aug 21, 11:32
The streetlights have come on. Think about that radio play I performed in high school where the sun disappears and all hell breaks loose.
Aug 21, 11:33
The sun disappears! Take off fancy NASA glasses and stare into the abyss where the sun is supposed to be. Feel like something is profoundly wrong. Feel tears coming down my cheeks.
Aug 21, 11:34
The sun is still gone, but now I can see the corona around it. Feel sublime in the most original sense of feeling incomprehensibly insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe.
Aug 21, 11:35
It’s back! The whole park starts cheering. Join in. Notice that cars and birds have started making noise again. Realize the last two minutes were totally silent. Wonder if that was a coincidence.
Aug 21, 11:36
Sit in revery for a few minutes, unsure how to continue after being witness to this phenomenon. Feel fundamentally changed somehow.
Aug 21, 11:38
Ask my new astrology friends if they felt anything weird. They all say yes, and the majority of them cried too. Their dog was totally fine, though. Accept their offer to read my astrological chart. Learn that I’m a Capricorn in 9 of my 12 houses, which is more than they’ve ever seen. Feel oddly proud even though I don’t believe at all in astrology. Enjoy the shadow that the tree is making on their blanket.
Aug 21, 11:40
Visit the kitten and ask if it was acting strangely. Learn that it wasn’t, which is interesting because I was told that animals would freak out. Decide that animals are more rational than people.
Aug 21, 11:45
Get back in the car and head out. Feel a little bad about missing the rest of the sun being revealed, but not bad enough to risk getting caught in the worst of the traffic.
Aug 21, 12:05
Get stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic anyway.
Aug 21, 5 pm
Arrive back home only two hours late, which is much better than people who waited to leave until the eclipse was over.
Aug 25, all day
Not blind yet, so I’m probably fine. Decide that the eclipse was rad and I’m so glad that I went, but I’m not changed in any fundamental way.