It was a hard call. One of the most profound events of the year, and everyone had been making plans for months. The day found me heartbroken, unsure of where I wanted to be.
The word was heavy and carried more meaning than just the phenomenon that would be happening in the sky that afternoon...
Hundreds of thousands of people were flocking to my area to see the moon block out the sun. Two and a half minutes of total darkness. This would be my first experience with a total solar eclipse. Leading up to this day I had it all planned out. Just the two of us. In the mountains. Trying to escape the crowds. It would have been unsuccessful.
So when the day came, and I found myself utterly alone, I balked. I felt broken. Facing a 500 mile drive that afternoon, rational me said to get on the road, away from the crowds. Let the mile markers heading north distract me from the feeling of drowning. But knowing my backyard was in the direct path of totality kept me home a little longer. It wasn't what I had planned. It wouldn't be grand. No soaring vistas. No friends or family. No buildup of voices in hushed whispers, anticipating the magic of nature. It would just be me. Alone. And I decided that was exactly what I wanted.
So I pulled a bed sheet out into the yard. The field behind the cabin was shoulder height and with no neighbors in my sightlines, I felt like I was in my own sea of grass. I had already picked out a good Spotify playlist (yes, I'm that girl) and was casually checking the progress through my glasses. As the light started to wane and the temperature dropped, I decided I wanted to experience it in a way I could only enjoy alone, without another soul in sight. So I peeled off my shorts and shirt and lay down on my white sheet. The tall grass surrounded me, and it was like being in my own little universe.
As the minutes passed I could feel the suns rays growing weaker and cooler on my bare skin. It was surreal and I watched the glowing universe sway as a breeze picked up through the field. As the light faded, the cicadas that has started lightly singing in the oak trees along the gravel road built their song to a crescendo. Tricked into thinking it was dusk, they hurried. My whole body was covered in goosebumps. And almost without warning, the song stalled.
The diamond ring and Bailey's beads were beautiful. But I was without words or thoughts when the sun slipped out of sigh and the watercolor sky turned to night. The corona.
I stood and felt the cool air on my skin as tears rolled down my cheeks. Here I was, this tiny speck. A blip in the giant universe. With no one to see or hear me, I cried naked as a jaybird in that field, surrounded by nothing. For two and a half minutes, it was me and nature...face to face. The intimacy was short-lived but powerful. I glanced down at my white sheet and saw the streaks of light dancing in a pattern around my feet. I froze that feeling and moment in my mind. Forever. Trapped in an in-between place. I tried to hold onto it as long as I could. But as quickly as it had become night, it came back to day. The warm sliver of sunlight peaked out behind the moon like a soft sigh. Slow saturation, a color palate I've never seen in real life before. Normal noises gradually resumed, like lazily turning the volume up on the radio. The magical world was sliding back to normal. I gathered my sheet and clothes and made for the porch, not wanting to lose the feeling. The house was silent as I stepped inside. The floorboards creaked louder, I swear, in contrast to what had just occurred outside minutes ago. My bags were sitting at the door. Wiping my cheeks, I got dressed and grabbed my car keys. My soul felt quiet. Still. Ready...