Eclipsing small minds and hands


picture by Steven Greenberg 2017

Sorry ‘bout last week.

AGMA really does try to post every week. But sometimes life gets in the way or I do a really sucky job at time management. Most of the time it’s the latter.

You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but how many saw the total eclipse last Monday?

Let me put it another way… Those of you in the US who didn’t get the opportunity to see the total eclipse are probably sick of hearing about it.

Those of us who experienced it can’t stop talking about it.

When it comes time for AGMA to say goodbye to this early life, I’m pretty sure that this eclipse will be on my top ten list of life events. It’ll probably be right above the tRump impeachment…

I started out feeling ambivalent about it. Eclipse, smeclipse – what’s the big deal?

In Atlanta, we were going to have a 98% eclipse. 98% is good enough right? Get the glasses, step outside at 2:30 or so, ooooh and ahhhh, and that’s it.

Surely it wasn’t worth 2% more to fight the “soul crushing” (as one article I read put it) traffic to and from the path of totality in Tennessee or South Carolina.

But some little voice inside of AGMA told me that I needed to have my soul crushed in traffic. Hubs was always on board with 100%. I gave in.

But where to go? So many people I know booked hotels in North Georgia or South Carolina months in advance. Not really a great idea if you have the luxury to travel to multiple areas of totality in 3 to 4 hours. The “experts” advised to wait until the day of to decide based on weather reports.

Luckily, in Atlanta, we could travel to a plethora of totality areas easily within 3 to 4 hours. If we left early enough in the morning that is….

So Monday morning we check the weather in Toccoa, GA, Greenville, SC, and Athens, TN. Athens won out with clear skies forecast for the day.

We left at 6:30 AM and three hours later, we were parked in a lovely shady spot in Athens Regional Park to watch the eclipse with 10,000 close friends.

We whiled away the 3.5 hours until the start of the eclipse in our little part of the park visiting with the lovely people around us. There were a few Indian families, an Aisian family, a Hispanic family, several African American families and lots of pasty, pale folks like Hubs and AGMA. And they came from all over – Ohio, Florida, Georgia, DC. And Tennessee. And nobody mentioned politics once.

We had a great time!

The excitement really started to build when somebody announced the eclipse was starting in Oregon. OMG OMG OMG! People were buzzing.

At 1:03 PM, we all threw on our glasses and looked up. And waited. And waited.

Eclipses are slow to develop.

Over the next nearly hour and a half, we watched as the moon slowly swallowed the sun.

It was very hot that day – 93 degrees – and even hotter in the sun. AGMA got all gross and sweaty when I was in the sun watching the early stages of the eclipse. TMI? Luckily we had plenty of shade to step back into when the heat got too intense.

But at some point in the eclipse, I stepped out into the sun and it wasn’t hot. Huh? The air felt as cool as the air in the shade. Freaky… At some point, the automatic lights on the highway went on. The daylight looked strange.

As AGMA watched the last sliver of the sun get gobbled up, cheers started.. Lots of whooping and hollering. We all took off our glasses to total darkness around us. The night critters started singing their night songs.

And I looked up to the most spectacular heavenly sight I’ve ever seen. There are no words that AGMA can use to describe the power and beauty of a total eclipse. But I felt like I was standing in liminal space and was being showered by ancient stardust from the beginning of time.

There was gasping and cheering and laughing. Some folks were crying.

It was a solar orgasm.

It lasted for a magical 2 minutes and 35 seconds.

When when the first sliver of the sun appeared again, there was a YUGE cheer.

I wanted a cigarette. I don’t smoke.

Getting home was more of a challenge than getting to Athens. It took an hour to get out of the park. And another 5 hours to get back to Atlanta on I-75. Not quite soul crushing, but pretty bad.

But it was totally, completely, without question worth it. AGMA’d do it again in a heart beat.

Everybody who traveled to this specific place on this specific day for this specific time experienced something very special together. For 2 minutes and 35 seconds, we were a unified in wonder and amazement. We were all equal in our place in the universe. We experience joy and happiness together.

After the hell of the Nazi/white supremacist hate in Charlottesville, this wonderful group experience of the total eclipse was heaven. Literally. And isn’t this how life should look in these good old United States? Everybody together in equality sharing a common experience of wonder and unity.

It totally eclipsed the small minds and hands that seek to tear us apart.

That’s why AGMA is (drum roll) starting a petition to have a TOTAL ECLIPSE EVERY WEEK!

We need an eclipse every week. Desperately.

I wonder who I would send it to? Neil deGrasse Tyson? Stephen Hawking? Bill Nye? Raj Koothrappali?

Surely one of those guys can arrange it.

If not, we’ll have to figure out this unity stuff some other way. Quickly. Please.

Only 7 years until the next total eclipse.

April 8, 2024. Meet me in Dallas.

I’ll bring the chips.

29 thoughts on “Eclipsing small minds and hands

  1. Ok – my favorite line:

    “When it comes time for AGMA to say goodbye to this early life, I’m pretty sure that this eclipse will be on my top ten list of life events. It’ll probably be right above the tRump impeachment…”

    Typo intended I presume??!! 🙂

    So lucky to get to see 100%. I was blown away by the 85% I experienced from my back deck, but would have loved to experience the total darkness.

    Maybe if I’m still around in 2024….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We had a 98% a few years ago. It wasn’t worth the fuss so you chose well. It sounds amazing.
    What about Bruce Willis? He may be able to fix it. In his vest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes – my son stayed in Atlanta where it was 98% and he was NOT happy with his decision. 98% vs 100% – absolutely no comparison!

      Bruce Willis… OF COURSE!! Did you know he was dating Liv Tyler when they were making Armageddon where she played his daughter. Creepy…


  3. I had thought of it as a “… a solar orgasm,” but it makes sense. Lots of effort for a 2 minute experience. Still, glad you got to see totality. I was a good 12 hour drive from totality so ended up watching the eclipse reruns on NASA TV.

    I’m thinking Bill Nye could create a plan for a weekly eclipse, but you’re going to need Bruce Willis to fly the space ship to change the moon’s orbit. Can’t picture Bill in a space suit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 2nd Bruce Willis suggestion. Where is my head – that makes so much sense!!! Why didn’t I think of it?

      I would not have driven 12 hours before I saw totality. Now that I have seen it, there’s no going back for me… It was REALLY good for me! I’ll fly to see the next one if I have to…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We had our “Totallity” here in Cornwall back in 1999. I’d been looking forward to it since about 1968 when I stumbled upon a text book in school that had details of future Solar Eclipses and made a mental note to be there 31 years later. Boy, was it worth the wait!
    I’m so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the event AGMA, I might make the effort to chase the next one, as I’d hate to only enjoy one Total in my lifetime.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this post. And if I’d gotten to see more of the eclipse, I’d have written about those 2 minutes where the nation was looking up, in unity. You’re so right, we need these way more often ! Glad you had the experience, it’s headed northeast in 2024…so, maybe ???

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll sign the petition if you send it to Neil deGrasse Tyson. He makes science fun. And you, your hilarious post seriously shows how all kinds of people can be together, peacefully and happily. I was pissed that I couldn’t get the glasses but I heard that those with eclipse glasses were sharing them with strangers. In New York. So see, you are completely right and we need more regular eclipses for #45 to look directly at!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t you love NdGT?!? And I LOVE that New Yorkers were sharing eclipse glasses! Everybody in Athens, TN had their own, but I think they had been planning for this trip for a while. Hubs ordered ours 2 months ago. And yes, more eclipses #45 can fry his corneas on…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My 84 year old mom who lives north of Atlanta got in the car that morning to drive to see it. Here, we had 91%, which was intriguing but not the totality of being showered with ancient stardust (lovely words). Not sure I would travel 8 hours (there and back, like many did) for 2.5 minutes of anything though! Although I agree, it was lovely for all of us to be focused on the wonder of nature & science for an afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Pat – tell you’re mom I want to be just like her when I grow up! I was doubtful at driving up to TN because I knew how bad the traffic was going to be on the way back. But I’m a convert after getting that stardust bath!! And it WAS lovely to leave the cares of the world behind for a day of unified wonder! Especially since now the US is dealing with the Texas floods… So sad.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sounds wonderful AGMA! Now I regret not driving south on I-5 for six hours to see the 100% eclipse down there. I remember one from my childhood though, which was cool. I love how you are always willing to hit the road on a moments notice! You are an inspirational gal!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Ilona…you are so sweet! It was actually kismet that I had nothing scheduled that Monday. It’s rare that I have a totally free day. I had just told Hubs that Saturday that I was going to go with him on Monday to see 100%. Best.decision.ever!

      How wonderful that you saw one as a child. I remember the hype about one on the 60’s (I think it was the 60’s) but I don’t remember seeing it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Here in Germany. Just imagine that in former times people thought it would bring a nature catastrophy, war or even the end of the World! Of course they could be right with the big hurricane in Texas… By the way, I really like your avatar-name😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks lilisar!! And welcome to AGMA! How would Aging Gracefully My Ass translate in German?

      I had the same thought about the ancients while the eclipse was happening – I get why they thought it was the end of the world!! Things just got so very odd while it was happening…

      Yes – Texas. Horrible! There is nothing we can do to prevent eclipses, but I’m pretty sure that the impact of this hurricane would have been much less if it wasn’t for global warming. It’s a real mess down there…


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