A once in a lifetime event! You'll never see this again! The last one was 99 years ago!
Ok...I'm prreeeettty sure I witnessed some big to do eclipse when I was in elementary school. I remember everyone going outside, to the front parking lot with our pieces of paper, and watching as the shadow moved across. I don't remember what year it was or what percentage of the eclipse we saw but I'm sure I can Google it. You know what I can't Google? Picture proof of myself witnessing it. Today's kids have it made! They will probably Google "2017 US Eclipse" and see a Google street image of themselves. Haha! But seriously, they will have plenty of proof!
I will admit, when I first heard about the eclipse I shrugged it off. We don't need special glasses. We don't need some homemade projection box. My kids are too young to care anyway. Then a couple weeks prior, I decided that maaayyybe it was kinda cool and maaayyybe I'll just take a few photos of me and the kids while the light outside changes. That's a solid plan. No headaches about trying to figure out how to view this thing...because good Lord don't look at it or you'll die!
Then today happened. I started watching the NASA coverage of the eclipse just as they were showing how simple a homemade projection box was. I just so happened to have 2 empty boxes of very nutritional food products on my counter. It's like the sun and the moon and the stars all aligned! The boys came running in the kitchen when they heard me open the pantry for the foil. Luckily they weren't too bummed that they weren't getting yet another snack but getting to help me create science instead! As we made the boxes, I explained to my oldest what we were doing and what was going on today. He seemed to catch on pretty quickly. I think it helped that he was watching the NASA coverage of the eclipse in Salem, OR on TV.
Outside we went to test out our new projection boxes! My oldest ran outside, looking straight up at the sun, and yelled, "I see the moon!" First of all, I frantically screamed, "Don't look at the sun! You'll go blind!" Secondly, you couldn't see the moon. It was only noon. There really wasn't anything to see yet so they both went back inside, quickly bored. I, on the other hand, was getting a kick out of this whole projection thing. Sometimes I think we are surrounded by so much technology that we forget that even the simplest things are still pretty cool. At this time, the clouds were coming in and out. I thought it was so neat that I could actually see the cloud formations in the sky through this pin hole projection! I wish I could have gotten a better photo (my camera struggled with focus due to the low light). Honestly, eclipse or not, that was one of the coolest things I've seen in a while.
After what seemed like forever, it was finally time! I called the boys to the front yard to start viewing the eclipse. It took a second to explain to my oldest that it wasn't a telescope. Once I showed him and explained again, he finally got the hang of it. I could tell that he was actually seeing it...and actually enjoying the experience! Proud mama moment! He was so excited and kept saying, "I can actually see the moon!" Like for real this time. Haha!
My youngest had no clue what was going on but he sure as heck looked like he did! He was so funny to watch. He would watch his brother closely and then do exactly as he did. Walk up and down the driveway, look up, look down, point and laugh. I was amazed at how content and focused he was. Maybe he was actually seeing something...who knows?
For as much procrastination as I did before the eclipse, I'm SO glad that I happened upon an article on shadow bands the day before. Had I not, I wouldn't have known to look for them. I actually almost forgot until I looked down at the ground and noticed the crescent shaped shadows cast from the tree. The ones on my son I didn't notice until a few hours later when I was looking through photos. Happy accident!
I saw an animation on Facebook that showed the amount of eclipse I would see in my area. According to that, we were supposed to get 98.2% totality or something. With 98% of the sun blocked by the moon, I was expecting it to get a lot darker than it did. However, it still got dark enough that the street and landscape lights came on. It was so pretty outside! There was this dark, orange glow and it was so calming. It was like golden hour (1 hour before sunset) but more golden than I've ever seen! I wish it would've lasted for more than 2 minutes...I wasn't ready to stop awing over it.
And just like that, 2 minutes later, the moon started moving out from the other side and the sun showed its face again. Everything went back to normal. In those 2 minutes it was like time stood still and then in a blink of an eye it was like it never even happened.
A month ago I couldn't care less about this eclipse. Today, I sit in awe and cherish the memories I made with my boys. The lessons I was able to teach them. The patience I was able to witness. The relived moment of me sitting on that hot Louisiana pavement, in elementary school, as I watched my first eclipse. I may not have proof of my first eclipse but I have proof of theirs and that's more than enough for me.