Solar Eclipse 2017
I loved astronomy since high school, but I was never really a "oh, let's get out our telescopes" kind of kid. I liked thinking about the big bang, and galaxies colliding and the physics and math of "star stuff", but I was never (and am still not) the kind of person to point out a constellation except for maybe the Big Dipper.
So it's no surprise that It had never occurred to me to actually *go travel* to see a solar eclipse. When I found myself really near the path of totality for the 2017 solar eclipse, it was actually a tough call for me to decide to go. But I updated my camping gear, got some "pinhole camera" making equipment, grabbed my son, and we drove out to Madras, OR from our new home in Portland, and made a weekend of it.
It was fun for a lot of reasons, but the moment of totality was shockingly profound. The world completely changes. It's eerie quiet, the animals act differently, and if I'm honest, I'll admit that I suddenly and unexpectedly burst into tears. If I had to explain why, I'd have to say it was a strange feeling of community with, like, all human ancestors who had ever witnessed a similar event. The fear and the wonder and the literal magic they would have felt. It still gives me the chills thinking about it.
Image credit: Michael S Adler, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons