The “Great American Eclipse,” eclipsed

If you live in the U.S., you likely find yourself in one of the following states tonight:
1. tired of hearing about the eclipse,
2. dying to see your next eclipse, or
3. disappointed you missed the eclipse.

I first learned of the now-infamous solar event on April 27, 2017 in the Palm Beach Post’s blog, “New solar eclipse stamp does something no other stamp can.

I snapped up the stamps — and they indeed performed exactly as advertised. (Sorry one is missing; I mailed it to my parents.)

Total eclipse stamps BLOG

Eclipse stamp heat sensitive 6426 BLOG

But I shelved any thoughts about the eclipse itself until a couple of months later. “Wanna go to Nashville?” I asked Esteban, figuring that even if we got skunked meteorologically we could still enjoy ourselves musically. “Sorry,” he replied, “gotta work.”

Fast-forward to last week, when my friends started sharing their travel plans. Nebraska. South Carolina. Oregon. It seemed half my social circle was heading for The Path of Totality. Even the catalogs that arrived in the mail — like this one, from Warby Parker — were promoting the event. Sigh.

Warby parker eclipse BLOG

I was amused to arrive at work this morning and find a creatively curated pile of treats on my desk.

Eclipse treats IMG_6437 BLOG

I was less amused, however, by the weather. In my latitude there would be only a partial eclipse of 83%, which would reach its peak at 1:06 p.m. But when I joined some friends on the top floor of the parking ramp at the appointed hour, this is all we saw.

Eclipse 1160339 BLOG

Esteban got a better shot from a few miles south.

Esteban eclipse IMG_2697 BLOG

In the end, this was as close as I came to an eclipse.

Mitsubishi Eclipse BLOG

Am I disappointed? Maybe a tiny bit. It would have been wonderful to witness an event that brought so many Americans together, and that will be a time stamp in the lives of at least two generations.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful to live in an age when we can watch the eclipse online. And anyway … there’s always 2024 — and that eclipse will reach totality over Chautauqua, a place that is dear to me and Esteban.

Until then, I’ll leave you with the lunar eclipse I did manage to see in 2008, right in my own back yard.

Lunar eclipse BLOG

“We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.” — Ray Bradbury


  1. I saw it. We had some clouds and some sun here and so we did get some eclipse happening here. But it was actually disappointing. I remember a partial eclipse in 1994 that bathed the town I lived in in some delicious and interesting light. This eclipse just dimmed things a little, and then it was over. Oh well.

  2. Wonderful 🙂 We have 98% totality where I was, and while it did not get dark, the dimness, cooler temps and fun of being with a group of people made it a great day 🙂

    • Even at 98% totality it didn’t get dark, Dalo? I really don’t understand this solar math! 🙂 But you’ve hit the nail on the head about what really mattered: Pausing for a moment and having fun with a group of fellow humans on this beautiful, wondrous blue planet of ours. Cheers to you, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. I missed the eclipse–avoided it really. I didn’t have the glasses and I couldn’t be bothered. I noticed a bit of darkening, but it didn’t become night here.
    Oh well.
    On the other hand, those stamps are cool.

    • Another blog friend reports being in 98% totality and it still didn’t get dark, Anthony — so it’s not surprising that the rest of us didn’t notice much difference. Oh well! At least I have those cool stamps so I can make an “eclipse” any time I like, ha ha. Cheers to you!

  4. I had a chance to see the Great American Eclipse in Chicago. It was breathtaking. I was standing in Boystown. I looked up, and then I barely looked southwest. You need trig to see if the moon was between the sun and the earth.

  5. I, too, did not really see the eclipse. Friends traveled but i had just returned from a trip. By the time I thought about viewing it in my area, it was too late to get the right glasses–sold out in town! And I did not want to do the gizmo that lets you watch the shadow of the thing. So I was pleased to hear from friends who saw it and I watch Dolores Claiborne. Thanks for your post!

    • From what I’m hearing one really had to be in the area of 100% totality to notice much difference in the skies, Patti — so you didn’t miss out on much for lack of glasses or gizmos. Oh, well. There’s always 2024, right? 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Ohmygosh! How in the world did I miss those postage stamps? They are the coolest of cool, the bomb, the bee’s knees. They’re all that…and more. I love those cleverly curated snacks. I bet the curator is fabulous with puns, too. Darn it though, now I want a Milky Way Dark.

    I am sorry to hear that the weather conspired to block the view at the most inappropriate time. Major bummer. Better luck in 2024. It sounds like you’ve already got a plan. xo

    • I think the stamps may be sold out — but if you’d like one, I will gladly send you a postcard! It would be really neat to know that my parents have one of the stamps and you the other. Just drop me an email with your preferred mailing address and it shall be done. 🙂

      As for those snacks, I would also offer to send you the Milky Way Dark but it succumbed to stress-eating almost immediately when I saw the contents of my in-box. It was delicious and I don’t regret it. Well, maybe just a tiny bit — kinda like missing the full eclipse.

      As for 2024: Yes, plans are already in place. And if that falls through, then there’s 2027. (As you can see, Esteban and I are determined!)

      Happy Tuesday to you, dear Alys! xo

  7. Cloudy in my part of the US also. Next time. You are right, we will see so many beautiful and realistic photos of it this coming week, with details we may have missed if we were actually able to see it. Love the reference to the car!

    • I was wondering whether anyone would notice the car, Roberta — and I’m not surprised the prize went to such a visual person as yourself! 🙂 It’s a pity you were clouded out as well, but one of the miracles of our age is that we don’t have to “be present to win.” That link I provided is still pretty awe-inspiring, even if it’s just in pixels instead of in person. Cheers to you!

  8. We ended up disappointed. We saw only a part of the post-finality partial eclipse in Nebraska. It was one of those partly sunny days where you didn’t know if you would see the eclipse or not right up to the last moments. We left our location and 10 minutes later we had partial clearing and got a look. They a huge traffic jam and a normal one hour drive took four hours. On the bright side, we had a brief adventure and learned a lot about the eclipse.

    • I’m so sorry to hear you missed out on seeing the totality, Tom — and then got stuck in a traffic jam. But at least you made the effort to go and had an adventure in the process. Well, if you’re up for another adventure, please join me and Esteban in 2024!

  9. This had me in stitches…. I nearly fell off my chair @ the Eclipse car – a fast model from its looks – and one I probably would vastly prefer over the real eclipse!!!
    You must work at a lovely place, having been spoilt with so many event-related goodies – I’m glad for you.
    I adore your sense of humour, so refreshing and without vanity. I also wonder for how long I will now get mail from US friends with those stamps 🙂
    Thank you for a giggle, a howl and much amusement.

    • I’m so glad to have brought a laugh or two, Kiki. You’re right that the Mitsubishi Eclipse has quite a following, so you’re probably not the only person who would prefer the car to the solar phenomenon, lol.

      And you’re right also that I work at a wonderful company, where little surprises like this one are the norm. (Though I’ve gained quite a few pounds since I started here, alas.)

      As for the rest of your kind comment … well, you’ve simply made my day. Thank you so much!

    • Oh dear! Perhaps it’s restricted by region — but I’m sure if you Google it you’ll be served up at least one video you *can* see in Switzerland. I run into this a lot with my friends in Germany, alas …

        • I thought there was a 50% chance it was a joke, and evidently I chose the wrong 50%. Well … we’ve only just met, so next time I’ll know you are kidding. 😀

      • …. and I’m living in France, just outside of Paris…. but we often cannot watch videos which are restricted to the US – mostly, if one wants to see something, there are ways to find them anyway – but also, even more mostly, it’s not worth the search!

        • Oh dear! Sorry I got your location wrong. From now on I will imagine you just outside of Paris (in the Île de France, as you said a few comments ago). Are you to the east, west, north, or south? The first time my husband and I visited Paris we stayed in Noisy le Grand, to the east of the city. It was a wonderful adventure to take the RER in each day since we spoke almost no French in those days and didn’t understand the train system. Nevertheless, everyone was very kind and helpful and we remember that trip most fondly.

          • Well, we are in the SW of Paris, on the RER B line, only 35′ in a direct trip from the heart of Paris, BUT in a peaceful, green environment – perfect to live, and very close to P if we need to be there…. 🙂 You may imagine us in a beautiful ‘meulière’, a stone house from 1920 with tons of original features and a large wild garden surrounding it. Much work but quite idyllic – I have a feeling you’d love it!!

          • I can tell you without a second’s hesitation that I would LOVE your meulière, Kiki. It sounds absolutely wonderful, in spite of the work …

  10. Saw it really well here in St Louis, but I’m disappointed in how it was turned into a marketable, money-making event. Fields full of food trucks (generators humming), t shirt and other merchandisers, and beer drinking party-goers who turned this cool event into another excuse to have a party. Just my rant, haha. We watched in the backyard, near a park where school kids were brought and allowed to witness the event. Applause and cheers met the peak totality, which to me, is how it was supposed to be…teachable moments.

    • I would be harumphing too if I were surrounded by food trucks and boisterous beer-drinkers — so I join you in your virtual rant. 🙂 But how lovely that you found a more suitable venue from which to enjoy the moment. I love sharing experiences like that with kids too, because they have not yet lost their sense of awe and wonder. Thank you so much for stopping by!

  11. An eclipse car? Didnt know one existed….anyway, I was a bit too busy to think about the exclipse…now its over…on to the next thing people get all worked up about…

    • Yes, the Mitsubishi Eclipse really does exist — it has quite a cult following among car enthusiasts. But I know that only because I looked it up on Wikipedia. 🙂

  12. Unfortunately I was not in the States during the eclipse, but I hear it was well worth the experience. At least I have experienced those US stamps. Quite fin, aren’t they! I might have to figure out how to get to Chautauqua in 2024.

    • I would be so excited if you could make it to Chautauqua in 2024, Otto — I think you would find it a photographically rewarding visit far beyond the eclipse itself. In the meantime, at least we do have those fabulous, brilliant stamps. Thank you for stopping by!

  13. Happy you posted for this great event, Heide “))! There was cloud cover here where I live, but I was looking for signs of the eclipse I could notice and did enjoy! My place got a lot darker inside, the air temp dropped quite a bit outside, and the quality of the light was really interesting and different, too! Texting back and forth with a few friends and enjoyed “seeing” the eclipse with them. Some of them sent pictures they were able to get. Really an interesting, powerful event! Thanks again for noting its occurrence with this post!

    • I’m so glad you were able to observe the event at home, Lara! I felt sort of silly about posting a report in which I basically had nothing to report, but it seemed important to at least acknowledge it. A big hug to you from the cloudy north! 🙂

      • I liked the post! Glad to hear people’s experiences of the event in all forms. Think one of the best parts about it was the connection felt, sharing stories, and acknowledging our tie to nature. Big hug back to you, Heide!

  14. Great captures of that lunar eclipse. All I mustered yesterday were a few moon shadow pictures with my camera phone. Felt rather poor about my lackadaisical efforts at observation after various family members and friends sent me pictures throughout the day of their improvised devices which ranged from everything to cereal boxes to toilet paper rolls…..

    • Aw, don’t beat yourself up about your general lack of interest in one of the most overhyped events of 2017, Mr. T-Fir. “Follow your bliss,” I say — and if something doesn’t bring you bliss, don’t follow it! 🙂

  15. Ha, ha. What a fantastic post. I particularly liked the eclipse you saw. In Canada, we got a partial and it was quite good. The weather cooperated for a change. Here is to the next eclipse.

    • How lovely that the partial eclipse was still quite good for you up in Canada, Lisa, and that you had good weather! Living relatively close to the Canadian border, I know it’s not something one can always count on. Let’s hope we’re as lucky with the next one, yes? Cheers to you, and thanks for stopping by!

  16. Hi there. I’m sorry to hear you want to unsubscribe. Are you receiving my blog posts through the WordPress reader, or as an email notification? If it’s the former you’ll need to click “unsubscribe” through WordPress. But if it’s the latter please tell me the @____ portion of your email so I can delete your address from the list. Thank you!

    • Yay! Just one more reason libraries are awesome, eh? I’m very glad you and the kids were able to share the experience. They are so lucky to have a mom that teaches them to appreciate nature, as you do.

  17. I am so deeply programmed to avoid “the big huge must-see event” that I did not try to line up glasses or make the box-thing. But I still wound up in my office parking lot at the peak trying to catch it on my phone (and failing miserably). But I have enjoyed some of the good pictures that came from it.

    • I normally share your programming to run in the opposite direction as the herd, JP — but in this case my love of nature won out.

  18. I love your humor (and that of your coworkers) I didn’t get to worked up about it, though I did snap pictures (we were so far off the trajectory but it was still super cool to see) I did love how it brought so many people together. It really sometimes is the simple things 🙂 ❤

    • I am blessed to work with a bunch of wildly creative and witty people, KM — and I do hope it’s rubbing off on me a bit. 🙂 You’re so right, though, that the big things in life really are the little things. It really was wonderful to see people pause for just a moment with friends and loved ones to appreciate this event. Cheers to you, and thank you so much for stopping by!

  19. It was an amazing experience Heide. We were in Tennessee for it and our emotions were all over the dial. It was so neat when it went to darkness and the animals began to do their night time thing. Emma stood there with an interesting look about her which we interpreted as confusion for her. To think the last one was 38 years ago. It was special for us to be part of.

  20. This is fascinating! I currently live in South Africa and to be honest, it is my first time finding out about the Path of Totality done in America – I don’t think we do things like that during a solar eclipse. I love learning about new things like this.

    • We are a little bit crazy in the United States, but we REALLY went crazy over the eclipse because it’s so rare for the path to cross over the entire nation from west to east. But in hindsight that doesn’t seem nearly as wonderful as someone in South Africa learning about such an event through my blog. Thank you so much for stopping by, and especially for your kind comment!

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