In a last minute change of plans I decided I really wanted to be with people yesterday for the eclipse rather than on the top of some mountain. Smart move! After a brief but lovely stop at stream in Greenbank’s Hollow, Rob and I spent a long, sunny afternoon at the Fairbanks Museum with about 500 of our fellow humans enjoying each other enjoying the eclipse.
While I loved seeing the sun through telescopes (who knew that thing on the top left was actually a “solar protrusion” bigger than Earth itself and who would have thought you could see sunspots so clearly!), it was the people who really overflowed my soul. Young ones, with cereal boxes, and old ones, with FedEx boxes, and many in between with herds of kids in tow—wow, it was a delight to just be together interested in something and able to just freely strike up enthusiastic conversations. And people learned real science and had experiences, both with the eclipse and with each other, that will be remembered for a long time. In 2024 there will be another eclipse in Central Vermont, this time total, so it was really fun to think ahead too.
It was also great to not even think about getting the “perfect” photograph, knowing there will be literally thousands of excellent ones on-line today. I did, hopefully, save one person from destroying her camera while trying to photograph the sun without a filter. Even photographing the people proved secondary to just being there in the moment!
Though there is no doubt in my mind about the constancy of the physical universe, I have, like many, more recently questioned what we humans are all about. The afternoon left me both with a sunburn—how could I have forgotten my sunscreen?!—and a renewed appreciation for my fellow humans. Many thanks also to the Museum and the great volunteers who brought this wonderful event together.
“Mom! Mom! Look! I can see it. Look Mom!” Let’s work together so they keep on looking at their amazing universe today and tomorrow.