The day was as hyped as Christmas for a second grader. Everyone had prepared in advance, gathering the necessary items like hopefully certified glasses, doughnuts, special beers, paper plates, boxes with pinholes, and lawn chairs.
The early afternoon crept by. People began to gather, some in huge groups at festivals, and others in smaller groups on their lawns. Everyone kept peeking up with their glasses as the minute of the partial eclipse came creeping across the sky. It seemed like time was slowing down as the moon tiptoed across the path of the sun. As the last ten minutes before 2:41 p.m. came, the sky kept noticeably darkening. It felt surreal, the shadows being cast in unnatural directions. Looking up through the glasses, only a pinpoint of light remained and then we were thrown into darkness. A cheer went up on the street from neighbors.
Streetlights popped on. It went from afternoon to early dusk just like that. We were able to remove our glasses and look up for brief periods, at the bright white halo around this dark circle. It was a bit unnerving to make sure to look away or put the glasses back on in time, so we only looked for a fraction of totality.
And as quickly as darkness fell, it was jerked away. That tiny pinpoint of the sun coming from the other side of the moon was bright enough to light the day back up, the street lamps tucking their glimmer back away, no longer needed for now. The light while still bright, was a weirdly tinged gray, an unnerving hue that was hard for eyes to adjust to.
That was it, the Great American Eclipse – an experience that can barely be described and was shared by millions.