#popscope heads to Nashville

by Michael O’Shea

N.B. I originally wrote this blog post in August 2017. The beauty of the eclipse and lessons I learned as as vibrant as ever. Enjoy.

Fresh back from Nashville, I wanted to share this picture of eclipse “totality” in Nashville. I’m standing on the hillside of Fort Negley, an old Union fort from the Civil War that is now a park and historic site.

As you may have read or witnessed yourself, the sky dimmed in the moments before totality. The temperature dropped and the air became very still. Birds whirred overhead; cicadas buzzed. In a sort of false sunset, the light reaching the ground turned orange and then grey. We were facing downtown Nashville, so as the sky darkened, one by one the lights of Nashville turned on: street lights, car headlights, and office building lights. Jupiter appeared overhead. Then, as eerily as it began, the sun peeked out from behind the Moon, and Nashville was flooded again with sunlight. Sunrise at 1:30pm.

On a cultural and political note, there were people gathered from across the U.S. and the world: Canada, L.A., England, India, England, and Australia. They joined the locals who were maybe a little surprised at the number of tourists flooding Nashville. Hotel rates were through the roof and taxi/rideshare drivers were busy. The mood was celebratory, happy, and loving where I was. Strangers took photos with each other and groups of friends hugged on what was once a Civil War battleground. For a moment, watching the eclipse from “spaceship Earth” united us. In the words of the Lyft driver who drove me and an Indian scientist to the airport this morning, “There was no bad news in Nashville yesterday. It was all about the eclipse.”

More somberly she added, “The bad news begins again tomorrow.”

We must take care of each other.

Visitors to Nashville from across the U.S. became friends, united in their humanity and awe in the moments before and after the eclipse.
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