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I successfully ignored the hype. I even announced that I was ignoring the hype. Everyone in Winston-Salem was looking, lining up for, and buying the glasses for $20 a pair, and after hearing about how kids and dogs alike were all going to go blind, I kind of figured we’d just pretend like it wasn’t happening and watch it on TV.
Then I saw that if you are in the Path of Totality, you can view it with the naked eye for the few minutes that the sun is totally covered.
And my parents live directly in the Path of Totality, on Watts Bar Lake, in Rockwood, TN. And my mom had 5 pairs of glasses and always has food and beer.
We woke up Saturday morning, threw a load of laundry in the machine, and were on the road by noon, arriving possibly in better time than when we drive over for holiday weekends.
And now, Eclipse 2017 is officially over, and my Facebook Live inexperience meant I got to semi-experience it without technology and semi-screw up the permanent memory making. But whatever. That was officially the coolest moment of nature I’ve ever experienced. Listen, I’m not saying that this 2 minutes and 39 seconds trumped all other life experience.
But it was pretty freaking cool.
I sort of hate that technology and social media requires us to document everything through our phones.
But I also sort of love it.
I’m throwing this blog post together really quickly because I’m still moderately on a high from the experience. If you caught my very short first-ever Facebook Live experiment, you can see that we are all kind of geeking out over here. This isn’t even Eclipse induced. Just normal geeking out. What follows is a piece-meal conglomeration of what we were able to capture.
I’m embarrassed, a little, because I hate my voice on camera. But I kind of want my kids to have this forever.
Because like I said, it was pretty freaking cool.
And weird, scary, amazing, exhilarating, adrenaline-rushing, laugh-inducing, awe-inspiring…all of those -ings that every single one of the million people who drove to the Path of Totality can attest to.
It turns out, Eclipse 2017 was not over-hyped. It was exactly that cool.
So when you look through the shades, you can’t see anything at all. The sun itself looks like a glowing orb in the distance. Jury is still out as to whether ours are going to cause permanent eye-damage or not.
Then I found this little gem of a good advice on the Facebook this morning, when I was actually searching the time I needed to go outside. Thank you Facebook. Because this was exactly as fun as I make it look.
Though Avery slept through it (and wouldn’t remember it anyway), I’m pretty sure Eliott was planning to experience total darkness on this Huck Finn raft. Unfortunately I was way too worried about their ripe little retinas to let them out of my grasp long enough to get back on their raft.
And finally, what follows are the ridiculous and terrible videos we attempted. I apologize in advance. I know. And if you hate my voice on camera as much as I hate my voice on camera, just skip these. Hindsight, of course, I would not have attempted to actually film the eclipse itself but focused on all of us losing our minds.
I’m actually still giggling because I just can’t even describe it. It was so weird and indescribable. I don’t know. I’m sorry. I’ll stop. Watch or don’t watch. Just please save your criticism for the idiocy of it all. I felt like a little kid and kept forgetting I had to still be a mother to all my kids who, at any moment, might stop and stare directly at the sun.
Like I said. Geeking out.
And still am.
Here, first, is one of Eliott’s videos, covering the twilight stage and also providing commentary.
Then, it all hit at once, and here is Eliott’s unattended camera capturing our first reactions to the total darkness. (What you can’t hear are cheers from around the lake, and the freak-outs of my other two kids and parents a little closer to the house.)
The next two videos are from my phone. It is split into two because as soon as the sun peaked back out I panicked, thinking Carter and Isaiah would both still be staring at the sun and in my haste to be a mom for a minute I accidentally turned the camera off. The time lapse is a fraction of a second, but sadly it serves to break up the best part of the experience, which was the rapid onset of darkness and the rapid reset of light. Also, I didn’t even mention the temperature drop, which was equally dramatic.
Otherwise, that was it.
Roughly four minutes of my life that blew my mind. I didn’t have a profound spiritual awakening, but I was on the verge of tears when it was all over. My heart was racing for about an hour after all of it, and it was hard to shake the overwhelming awe it kind of filled me with.
I asked Eliott, a few hours later, how she wants to remember this. First she said, “It was like night in the middle of the day. It was so weird and cool.” Then I said, “Yes, but, how did it make you feel?”
She had to stop and think about this.
Then she said, “It just went by too fast. I was just freaking out and going crazy. And like, there was so much I wanted to do during the darkness. I wish it would have lasted longer. I wish I could have filled it with a bunch of stuff because it was like night during the day. But that’s how it is. All the best things in life go by super fast and all the worst things take forever.”
So much truth.
Sorry for the raw writing. I typically do a lot more editing and often think through how I want to say things for a bit longer, but I kind of wanted this post to just reflect the immediacy of the moment and its aftermath.
I realize that my rendition will never truly do the experience justice, but I’m glad I didn’t save this one for TV.
*If you noted the lack of outfit changes over the course of about 48 hours, I told you this was very last minute. I didn’t grab a lot of extra clothing.