From my POV: The Great American Eclipse


Photo by Kira Garlick

The moon covers the sun as totality nears in solar eclipse

traveled a round trip of 1,575 miles in four days to see two minutes of total darkness in late August, for the first total solar eclipse in America since 1918. And I almost didn’t go.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for science, nature and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I still hesitated at the offer. My family wanted to go to the zone of totality for the eclipse, where the moon blocks the whole sun and not partially. However, I could look up pictures on the internet of what an eclipse looks like. I could watch a timelapse or documentary. My school duties were calling to me and I didn’t want to be left in the dust.

But people talk about the experience of being in the shadow of the moon like it changed their lives. My family was determined to experience it for themselves, and so I was reluctantly pulled along.

We planned to stay at a relative’s ranch in Baker City, Oregon for the event. It was a beautiful property, with views of the farm fields and rolling mountains; a perfect place to watch the sun rise and set. Therefore, it was an ideal spot for seeing the sun hide behind the moon.

The morning of, we gathered on the hill in front of the house with eclipse glasses, setting up cameras. As the moon edged closer to the center of the sun, it began to dim like lights on a stage. The air got colder, and my gut felt nervous. It was an unnatural sunset; instead of the daylight falling away from one point, it was all of a sudden disappearing everywhere.

Then, as totality began, everything exponentially darkened, plunging me into a strange night. I looked up to the sun, and saw the moon covering the entirety of it, except for three beautiful corona flares popping from each side and a halo of light.

View of the eclipse and the darkness it casts on Baker City and the valley

Frogs croaked. Birds flew out of the trees. Everything was confused as to what was happening, and so was I.

I’ll admit I cried. It felt like the world was ending and for the two minutes of totality, I was in an entirely new dimension.
As the moon moved on, things gradually warmed up and started to return to normal. I was aware of time moving again.

An hour later, my family gathered our things and headed back on the road. The event really made me think about how amazing coincidences in nature can be, as well as the importance of the sun’s energy. Experiencing totality of the solar eclipse was something I definitely didn’t want to forget, and I was beyond thankful for going.