In the shadow of the moon

I saw the eclipse, the total eclipse, and though I’ve seen pictures and knew what would happen, no words or pictures can match the effect of being there.

It begins slowly, a sliver of the sun gone black, a sense of surreality at seeing such a common fixture in the sky and our psychology shifting that way.

Then you begin to notice the light is dimming. It’s around 10 am but it feels like the sun is about to set. It is setting, in a way.

Then you realize that there is hardly any heat on your face anymore. The sun is cold, a winter sun. It gives off chill, thin light that fails to warm your forehead as you stare at the thinning crescent.

Then the moment comes, when you watch that crescent turned line turned dying ember finally blink out–and an instant later, the halo of white, ethereal flames surrounding the black void disk of the moon. The sky is that of twilight, all around you the horizon appears like a sunset. And that strange white light and preternaturally black disk hangs above you like some alien vision. You’re laughing, you’re cheering, you’re putting your hands on your head and jaw hanging open. You feel some connection with something huge, and brief, and singular and completely out of your or anyone’s control or design.

Then, a white flare like magnesium from a single point on the black disk, and the sky lights up with the triumphant return of the sun.

These words are not enough, you have to experience it. You’ll feel a thrill of elation, emotion, of knowing that you witnessed an event that in the past brought millions to their knees, spawned religions and cults and ended rulers and tyrants, and shifted human events that we will never know.

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