The Day They Took the Sun Away

2017 has been a turbulent year to say the least. Little to get excited about and less to rally around. The solar eclipse, therefore, had been something that we as a nation could all jump on. It was exclusively an event that was affecting the United States. It was going to be OUR eclipse. A solar eclipse is sort of the Super Bowl of cosmic events. Our distant ancestors were terrified by such occurrences, seeing them as threats from the gods that they were angry and demanded obedience and maybe a blood sacrifice or two or they would take away the Sun and destroy the Earth. Of course, most of us now know that it’s merely the Moon coming between the Earth and the Sun on is daily orbit and that at most it will last about two and a half minutes of total darkness if you are within that 70 mile wide swath it took across the U.S. from Oregon to South Carolina. The rest of us got to see partial eclipses that from start to finish were a couple hours for the Moon to travel across the Sun.
Such eclipses have been the subject of songs and stories. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler (rose to became number one song on Monday), “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore” by the Walker Brothers, Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone” and “Moon Shadow” by Cat Stevens have enjoyed a resurgence of play time recently. Books such as “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” and  films such as Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto,” “Ladyhawk” and “2001, A Space Odyssey” all feature solar eclipses as prominent plot devices.

Paula Nicewanger/Weekly ViewThe eclipse as seen through leaves -- see the crescents!

Paula Nicewanger/Weekly View
The eclipse as seen through leaves — see the crescents!

We at the Weekly View certainly got caught up in the hype and hoopla. It’s certainly a great story. It was the first occurrence of such an event since February of 1979 — thirty nine years ago. We planned an eclipse party in the office parking lot. My family was up for the experience to the max. The Boss’ sister was flying in from Boston (she lives in California but was on a project in Boston) and then driving to Central Kentucky in order to be in the path of totality and fully experience the thrill of the moment. She didn’t get back until 1:30 a.m. Tuesday morning – thought she’d never get across the Ohio River – always construction on the bridge. My daughter and her husband were flying his plane to Carbondale Illinois  again to be at ground zero to view the eclipse. WOW!
Our personal experience took on all the aspects of a big game hunt as we tried to locate and purchase the safety glasses, which became like gold in the days leading up to Monday the 21st. All the retail outlets had sold out by the middle of the previous week and outlets that were offering them limiting numbers of them saw Black Friday style crowds demanding them. But leave it the Boss and Ethel. They came through big time and were the heroes of the moment! We had a cereal box pin hole camera too. The Boss took pics of the cresent shaped sunrays through the trees – pretty cool.
It is estimated that up 160 million people viewed the Solar Eclipse. Medford Oregon, Chicago, Daytona Beach, Nashville, Cincinnati,  D.C., New York City and of course Indianapolis were all dancing in the streets…. with our special eclipse glasses on of course. For a few hours we were all one as a nation united by a breath taking and wondrous event. For many it would be the only time in their lives they would get to experience it.
For me be involved and getting to view it was one of those times when it was really wonderful to be alive. It was a joyful experience. I know you’re saying that it will happen again in seven years and this time Indianapolis will be directly under it, but tomorrow is promised to nobody so I am just thankful I was around to experience Monday’s heavenly moment.