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How the Darkness of the Eclipse Brightened My View

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The solar eclipse across the U.S. happened for the first time in 30 years this last past Monday, August the 21st, 2017. The “Great American Eclipse” promised to bring the people of the U.S. together like no other event in the recent years. Even though many of us that were outside of totality may have felt let down because we expected it to be darker with more impact, its overall effect was still remarkable.

As we moved closer to the event, I read things that state “About two-thirds of Americans live within a day’s drive of the path of the 70-mile-wide path of totality – where day will turn into night for about two minutes – and millions are expected to travel to see the full spectacle. Millions more will simply head outside to a local park or community event to watch a partial eclipse – visible in all of North America” ( A. Pawlowski).

I settled for the “partial totality” that we experienced in Madison, AL. “Partial totality” is in itself a bit oxymoronic, but 97% of darkness seemed like a good compromise to allow me to stay home while avoiding the hordes of Americans that traveled great distances to experience the full effect of totality.

Either way, the people of our nation came together to experience this natural phenomenon. There were no sides, no teams, no rights or wrongs, there was just one thing that captivated the eyes of young and old. Instead of people looking down at their phones, they were looking up at the skies which people don’t cherish enough in today’s world.

In that moment of partial totality in my own backyard, I realized that we are all riding together on this blue sphere, hurdling through space in a universe that makes everything, especially us, seem small by comparison. It made me recognize that we, the riders on this sphere, are more alike than we are different. The things that we fight about, whether they be border walls, monuments, religion or race, are all small in the grand scheme of the universe. In that moment of darkness I felt enlightened, knowing that our differences are small enough to be forgotten and forgiven. It was a reminder that we need to cherish this life, and all of those that live it.

Sadly, the bonds created by this eclipse are fleeting. We stop for a day and look to the sky thinking about our existence, and then we return the next day to the world that we all have made. The next major eclipse that we will experience in our country will be in April 2024. Even years from now. I can only hope that we can hold onto some of this perspective until we get there.

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How the Darkness of the Eclipse Brightened My View