Time, if not life, is not measured in calendar days or minutes and hours, it is measured in memories. Events. Yesterday was one of those life event days that take the yardstick of a lifetime and put a great big huge tick mark on that ruler.
I was one of those people who said he would not drive ten minutes to see a total eclipse. I just did not think it would be that big of a deal. I was completely, totally, utterly wrong.
For approximately two minutes and 20 seconds, I experienced a magical event, one where reality seem to change around me. At the very instant of totality, I saw something amazing. I've noticed a few people on Facebook have described it as seeing snakes. The three tubes I saw were the most intense and brilliant shades of red, green, and blue--- all discrete in three bright bands. Not everyone saw that.
One of the most fascinating things about totality is that apparently so many people saw so many different things at the instant of totality. I did not see some of the things that other people described, though I did see the famous arcs, the diamond effect, and so on.
I believe the thing that got me the most, though, was that during totality it actually felt like reality had changed. The ''vibe'' was totally different then compared to what it was before the advent of totality. It actually was like we were transported to a different more magical place.
I know for certain that science can explain everything I saw and probably everything I felt. That's fine. I believe in science-- it has given us freedom from superstition and oppression for the most part. In the future, I believe it will deliver the entire human race to a much better place, but we have a ways to go first. But what I hope science can never explain is the feeling I got during the eclipse--- that was magic and we need magic in our lives.
Something remarkable also happened in the hours immediately before and after the eclipse. Literally millions of people jammed our nation's highways trying to get to a viewing spot, and everyone around here knows about The Mother Of All Traffic Jams that stretched from Atlanta to Asheville to Greenville to Charlotte, yet I've read no reports of road rage or anything other than a few random “minor incidents,” which were so minor as to not even be worthy of any detail. The apparent harmony is extending even into Tuesday. Sometimes I feel like I have experienced the mythos of the Star of Bethlehem.
Of course, people will attribute experiences to God, which is just fine, for “God is in the rain” and God is in the eclipse and in all things. Imagine how you felt during the eclipse and then translate that back tens of thousands of years to primitive man, who had absolutely no inkling of what was actually going on and the feeling it must have given those people. The power of the eclipse gives us all something that perhaps we were missing, besides the obvious things that people have been talking about, and that is a connection to our distant ancestors who knew no better, but they looked up to into the sky and wondered and marveled at what they beheld.
I am thankful I lived long enough to have this experience.