In the 90 minutes before totality, the eclipse was interesting and beautiful to watch through the viewers. We noticed the effects we’d been taught about: temperature dropping, not as bright, breezes, etc., but it was all within my expectations and common experience.
Then totality began.
Even with the year of preparation (printing out the NASA path of totality and putting it on the fridge, attending planetarium shows, attending demonstrations and asking detailed questions of the presenters, watching videos of other eclipses, having a list of things to watch for, testing our eclipse viewers, etc.) I was entirely unprepared for how stunning it was to experience it. I’m still trying to force myself to believe that my memory of the gorgeous pure white corona is real. I simply couldn’t have anticipated for how huge and pristine it was to actually see it glowing up there in the heavens. The atmosphere around us was eerie and exciting and magical all at once. The 360 degree glowing rainbow sunset, the strange hue imbuing everything with a richness it otherwise lacks, the cool breezes, the single bright star in the sky, night flowers opening, all of it all at once. Everyone making expressions of awe. The experience was sublime.
Then it was over.
The entire afternoon and evening I felt drained. It seemed strange that there should still be half the day left, and regular life to attend to.
Practical detail: I used three different cameras, with and without filters, and none caught a decent image of what we saw.
Miracle: They were predicting poor viewing conditions, lots of cloud cover. We’d been praying for good viewing conditions in our community, and some of us fasted. Viewing conditions yesterday were excellent. I know sometimes we make the mistake of praying for things that God isn’t willing to grant us, but in this case, I felt good about asking for this blessing, and I felt that He answered us.