Surviving the 2017 eclipse

By: 
Andrea Barelle

Well, it turns out we all survived. No fire from the sky. No opening of the ground and falling into a fiery pit of hell. No mass power outages. No panic in the streets. Nope. Just folks from all over, coming together for one moment to experience the wonder and creation this earth has t
offer us.

For me, the eclipse wasn’t a real big deal. I’m not a huge science fanatic and that kind of stuff isn’t really my thing. Yeah, I know it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, which makes it sound so much more of a bigger deal than it really is. I mean a lifetime to us is so small compared to the existence of the cosmos.

So, I know that the last coast-to-coast full solar eclipse in the U.S. was 99 years ago. Much has happened in that time: two world wars, other smaller wars, liberties for women and minorities and a technological revolution. We have seen intense racial discrimination, religious freedoms in many parts of the world suppressed, terrorism on a worldwide scale and an overall yuckiness as each day goes by. People are just dissatisfied with life.

And, yet for a moment – fewer than two minutes in Wright, a little longer elsewhere – people forgot about terrorism, racism, hate, and violence and stood in awe of something that could not be controlled. It was something that gave us a reprieve from life for that small amount of time.

My son, father and step-mother traveled to Casper for prime seating. I had no desire to be amongst the masses, but this was, for them, an incredible experience. They described the instant coolness that presented itself during totality and being in pure darkness. They talked about the hush over the crowds as the sun disappeared and then the intense cheering; a celebration of sorts and, at least for them, an even closer feeling to God and what he has given us.

I can’t say I’m not slightly disappointed in myself for not making an effort to get a prime seat for viewing, but I did take a few moments to watch for myself at the optimal viewing time. I saw 95 percent totality and I watched as it got darker. I felt the instant coolness as the moon hid the sun from us. And although there weren’t any other watchers in my direct view, I know others were, too, in awe of what could be seen.

It’s a marvelous thing to be able to have this kind of experience and be old enough to remember it. It becomes a piece of our family heritage that we get to hand down from generation to generation until the next eclipse event. It becomes something that we share where the world stood still and everyone got along. It reminds us that under the right conditions there can be peace. After all it is a once-in-a-lifetime
experience.

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