Going through some old writings today and found one I can’t believe I never shared, so I’m doing that now:
They call them umbraphiles. Before today I couldn’t have told you what that meant. Perhaps I could have busted out some long hidden Latin in the dark recesses of my brain to figure it out, but likely a definition would have alluded me. Today I not only learned the term, but discovered that I am one and want to be more of one.
Someone who loves eclipses, often traveling the world to see them.
Today was my first total solar eclipse. I honestly didn’t understand the months of pre-show hype and I didn’t understand why I should buy a pair of those cardboard glasses or travel to an area of totality. However, just in case, I did both.
Well, actually my mom furnished the glasses.
At the risk of being cliché, I must say it was truly something to see, and something I will not forget. It was eerie, otherworldly, and incredible. I didn’t know what to expect going into the morning. I knew I would see the moon pass across the sun with the aid of those cardboard glasses and I had a vague idea that it would get dark. That was it. I didn’t know it would get so cold, or that the wind would stop blowing (that might have been a coincidence) or that I would be able to take off those glasses for two glorious minutes and view the diamond ring, the corona set upon the head of a large black moon.
A dance of morning and night
The frog swallowing the moon
Or the dragon
In a word: Awe.
And yet it was so short, too short, to be satisfactory. I think that’s where the eclipse fever comes in. The time given was not enough and I was not prepared. I would have brought better camera equipment and laid out a white sheet to capture the dance of light rays. I would have found a cliff or a mountain to watch it from because I have since learned that if you have a higher vantage point you can see the shadow of the moon move across the land.
I would have dressed in warmer layers. And I would have had more people I love nearby. I would have recorded their reactions.
July 2nd, 2019: The next total solar eclipse will travel across the lower half of South America. If I am in San Juan, Argentina I’ll be in the path of totality. Sounds like an incredible trip.