Eclipsing small minds and hands

trump_eclipse__steve_greenberg

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.