Ponderings with Doug – August 25, 2017

My fellow nerds gathered at the airport. We jumped on the plane. We landed in Nashville. We checked into the hotel. We grabbed our official eclipse glasses. The hotel was so cool they had two pair of glasses for our room. Monday we waited and waited.
The funny thing about a total eclipse is the waiting involved for the two and half minutes of totality. It was worth every second of waiting.

At the appointed hour we walked out and gazed upwards as the moon made its appearance across the face of the sun. The moon was going rogue. The moon was dancing in the face of the diva. The moon was photobombing the sun’s selfie. The moon was mooning the sun.

It took over an hour for totality to start. As we were waiting for totality we noticed the one cloud in the sky was headed in our direction. Even that one cloud couldn’t mess up the event. Totality happened at announced hour. When it did it was spectacular. The night bugs starting singing. The sky looked like a sky at sunset except it looked that way for 360 degrees. In the field where we were, with a bunch of other nerds, there was absolute silence. The sun is yellow through the eclipse glasses, the corona is silver. Totality ends with the “diamond ring.” It is like a giant flashbulb goes off and the world is back to bright and the sky is back to bright blue.

We were so excited; we are planning our totality nerd reunion for 2024. This time I’ll only need to drive to find it. The next North American total eclipse can be seen in parts of Texas and Arkansas. We can call it the “Bubba eclipse.” I likely won’t be around for the one is 2045, but it goes over Orlando and has been dubbed the “Disney eclipse.” There is another full eclipse in 2019, but it is in South America. We have found a cruise ship that sails out of Tahiti and sails for 15 days and will anchor in the area of totality. Do you think I can get a yard pass to see that eclipse?

It was worth all the work to get to Nashville. God willing I will see another one before I leave this world.

I had friends who were watching the eclipse in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The eclipse there was 99%. You would think a 99% eclipse would be fairly spectacular. It was not. At 99% there was no viewing of the corona. There is no taking the glasses off and looking at totality with the naked eye. Yes you can do that and we did. There is no “diamond ring” light burst at the end of totality. There were no bugs singing, there was no seeing the colors of sunset everywhere on the horizon. There was no hushed silence in the face of dusk at 1:30 in the afternoon. There was too much sunlight at 99% to see anything cool.

In terms of eclipses, you need totality to get the great experience.

The folks watching the eclipse in the Smokey Mountain National Park had awesome views of totality. Some of them were in the right place to see it all. Some of them stopped in the tourist traps thinking they were “close enough” to have a good view of the eclipse. Some of them may have been happy with the 99% and would do it all again to see the moon cross the sun’s path. Some of you saw 90% and you didn’t have to leave Natchitoches. It was awesome for you.

But that one percent made all the difference in the cosmos between partial and total. Believe me total is worth the trip. The Methodists will be taking a church trip on Monday, April 8, 2024 to see totality.

The spiritual lesson is easy. Giving your life 99% to Jesus is not good enough. In terms of following Jesus and eclipses you must be all in to get the full impact.