I’d like to tell you about my wonderful adventure of discovery with the Great Eclipse of 2017. I’d like to, but I can’t because the highly touted eclipse of the sun just didn’t work for me.
If we’d lived in the area of totality, which stretched from points in Oregon to Charleston, S.C., I’m sure my story would be different. And I saw on TV that lots of school children, even in our area, had fun experiences, particularly with those special solar glasses. And I’m truly glad they did, because for them the phenomenon was something new.
I’d seen them before (at my age you’ve seen lots of things before) but I was still looking forward to the event. Right now, my outside interests are pretty much confined to history, classic cars and stamp and coin collecting. Years ago I was also into science and nature. If this was the 1970s, I probably would have gone out and bought a book on astronomy and eclipses, so I could have been prepared with all the knowledge any science buff would want to have on exactly what happens when the moon gets in front of the sun.
Even now, though, I wanted to see it. We learned that the Parish Library was having an eclipse program so we went there about noon, but all the seats were taken and the scheduled program was not set to start until 1 p.m.
So, having mistakenly thought that the Visitor’s Center at Grand Ecore was also having a program, we drove out there, but nothing was going on. There was also one at Magnolia Plantation but by that time, we decided to just go eat.
We were still downtown at one of our favorite restaurants at 1:26 p.m., the height of the eclipse for the Natchitoches area. I really thought it would get pretty dark outside, although I knew full darkness would not occur. Not long before the peak time, it did get quite dim, but that turned out to be a passing cloud.
At 1:26 p.m. it was still pretty bright. If I had been a member of a primitive tribe looking for a sign from the gods, I don’t think I would have been too impressed. As it was, being a geezer who’s seen a thing or two, I was not too impressed either.
It’s probably all my fault. Maybe my sense of wonder and awe isn’t what it used to be. As I said, I’m glad the kids enjoyed it. But one thing some of the little ones said was incorrect. A few called it “a once in a lifetime experience.”
But those 9, 10 and 11-year-olds will get another chance to see an eclipse just seven years from now, in 2024. They’ll be teenagers then and I hope they still have their sense of wonder. If I’m still on the green side of the grass, I’ll be in my 80s. I’m going to try to look forward to it.