Total eclipse of the heart

Un texte de Sarah Cobb

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Publié le : 4 juin 2024

Dernière mise à jour : 4 juin 2024


We stood in wonder watching the light wane and change. And then it happened. 

Watching the eclipse on May 8th. Photo Sarah Cobb

I was in grade 6. We’d all dutifully brought in a cereal box from home, which we cut up with dull scissors – adding white paper to the bottom, aluminum foil and a tiny little pinhole in one corner. At the appointed time, we donned our snowsuits and trudged outside, boxes in tow. With backs turned to the spectacle, noses stuck in our homemade viewers, we watched the shadow of a tiny moon move across part of a tiny sun. When it was over, we trudged back into class. That, for me, was a solar eclipse.

Fast forward 45 years. A much nerdier me put the eclipse in my calendar in 2022 – solar glasses purchased weeks ago. I knew we were in the path of totality but had no real concept of what that meant. When pals from Massachusetts talked about coming up for an eclipse party, it dawned on me that this time might be different. 

In early April, I spent all my time referring to timetables, fascinated by the fact that the shadow of the moon would be a perfect orb off the Pacific coast but egg-shaped as it crossed Newfoundland. I was constantly checking the cloud coverage praying for optimal viewing; the irony of the US having claimed it as “The Great American Eclipse” when most of that country was shrouded in cloud was not lost on me.

Our friends arrived. We spent the morning scoping out spots for the best viewing – settling on the field beyond our pond, on the crest of a little hill with an uninterrupted, 360º  view of Pinnacle and the southern horizon. At about 2:30 p.m., we were shuffling around outside the house, digesting our apple pancakes, taking furtive peeks at the sky. Like getting geared up for the first day of a new job where you’re not quite sure what the job is, my excitement level seemed a bit ridiculous. I was giddy.

The group shifted toward the field, hauling chairs, blankets and camera equipment. Something momentous is about to happen, was all I could think – struggling to keep a conversation going. We settled into our seats. Right up to the last second, I had doubts that the moon could actually conceal the sun. We stood in wonder watching the light wane and change. And then it happened. 

Yes, there was the moon and the sun, but it was as though the combination of the two had created some entirely new, miraculous, celestial body. Disbelief, awe, amazement. We all stood. A spontaneous, universal standing ovation. As my pal put it, everyone in the path of totality performing the longest Wave in slow motion. Then I unexplainably started to weep. Completely overcome. Simultaneously feeling very connected to the people around me while almost painfully vulnerable and small. The horizon shimmered in cream and peach. And then, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, it was over. 

Lucky, lucky us.

Sarah Cobb