I’ve been waiting for nearly 40 years to see a total solar eclipse.Eclipse

In 1979, I wanted to drive north for the last total eclipse in the US, but it was inconveniently scheduled during finals week at my college. So I missed it.

On August 21, 2017, I rented a Cessna Cardinal and flew my family to the Ontario Airport in Oregon. Ontario is a small airfield in the extreme eastern part of the state, not far from the Snake River and the Idaho border.

We joined a few hundred other spectators, the perfect crowd size (probably around Dunbar’s number): enough to share the excitement, but not so many you had to wait in line for porta-potties.

The eclipse was incredible.

Photo by Diana Aragon

Noon became night; sunset bloomed in an instant all around the horizon, a 360-degree glowing band. People cried out and cheered. Above us, a black disk hung, embraced by the bright wings of the sun’s corona.

And stars appeared at noon.

I actually trembled. Shivers rippled across my skin.

I was rinsed with wonder, suffused by unexpected reverence. The sun’s corona in the dark sky was unbelievably beautiful, casting a pale silver light over the upturned faces of the crowd around me. People gasped with awe, the uncanny light staining their skin.

We were captured in a bubble of wonder, caught in the center of the moon’s shadow.

If I live a hundred years, I will never forget this unearthly moment, this moment of transport to another dimension.

It was worth waiting 40 years.

 

 

Who brought a pineapple to the solar eclipse?

Flying over traffic after the eclipse

 

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