We were among the fools who drove hours to put ourselves in the Path of Totality for the eclipse. At the risk of ramping up the sense of FOMO for those of you who skipped it, I have to say the experience ranks among one of the most inspiring of my life.
We spread out our ratty quilt next to the river, claiming our spot in the RV site that claimed to be a “resort,” but was really just several hundred campers smashed into tiny gravel lots charging $120 a night. But since hotels in Casper, Wyoming, were $399 a night and my parents had the foresight to reserve a spot nine months ago, we pitched a tent for our family of five on the rocks behind their camper.
Mostly, we waited. The kids became instant best friends with the family across the gravel path who had driven overnight from Vegas. We tried on our opaque eclipse glasses, gazing at the burning dot, then checking our phones again for the time. A man set up a mammoth telescope and let people look through it, for the small price of having to hear him marvel about the wonders of a divine creator, to the great irritation of my parents’ atheist friends.
We settled on the blanket to the whining of our three-year-old, demanding that she have her hot pink camping chair. My husband darted back to the site to get the chair, with just two minutes to totality. The temperature was dropping, the sky darkening to twilight. Terrified my children would stare at the sun and go blind, I yelled at my daughter to put on her glasses, panicking that I myself had looked at the sun, now just a sliver of light, without my glasses. I was glad our baby was fast asleep in my parents’ camper so I wouldn’t have to obsess over him not ogling at the sun.
My husband returned just in time. The girl next to me suddenly shouted, “Take off your glasses!” After so many minutes of stressing over wearing the glasses, we finally yanked them off and found ourselves frozen, trance-like in the horrific wonder of a modern-day science fiction film.
The campsite erupted with noise and motion. The adults shrieked wildly and the children spun in circles–pirouetting, twirling, cartwheeling and hugging one another in the eerie light. We were Frodo, our vision transfixed on the eye in the fires of Mordor. The moon was a smooth black orb, framed by the most brilliant shock of light I have ever seen. Touching my cheek, I realized I was crying.
The trees, grass and river glowed with the light of dusk—or perhaps dawn. A pinpoint of light pierced the darkness and the diamond glinted off the side of the burning ring. This was the end–the finale that left us speechless except we suddenly knew that we were small and nature and space could drastically dwarf our overinflated sense of self. We knew light and dark could dance together and we’d survive the harrowing nightmare.
Totality lasted two minutes and twenty-two seconds. In that short span, the supernatural peeled away reality to reveal life in all its wildness and God in all His glory… CONTINUE READING AT SHELOVES