August 22, 2017 by readlisaread
Gentle reader, do you know what I mean when I say learning a new word or phrase is like rolling a hard candy around in your mouth? You tuck it in your cheek or under your tongue for a moment, then roll it around again and taste the flavour anew. Recently, a total solar eclipse taught me a new phrase: The Path of Totality. It means simply (and obviously) the geographic path that the ability to view the total eclipse is made possible. I remember the last total solar eclipse. I didn’t know, then, that I was actually in the path of totality. I remember it was a school day, and I was in Junior High, and we were allowed to go outside during the pivotal time. I remember the shadowy dark, and then the gradual lightening, and just how interesting it was to understand planetary motion. To see a real-life example. I had no idea then that people traveled great distances just to experience that phenomenon.
Since then, with the advent of the Internet and the network of social media, I have had the opportunity to experience events vicariously through friends and contacts. It turns out I know many people who would travel great distances just to spend an hour or so in the company of the moon’s shadow. Who described to me in words and pictures the sudden and complete darkness, the instant quiet of the birds, the immediate drop in temperature, and as the eclipse peaked and resolved, the strange shadows, the odd quality of light. One of my friends described that moment of totality as a rush–indescribable and crave-worthy.
I was in the path of 90%, and I learned and observed some things on my own. For example, the light and shadows, and the temperature drop. I also learned that while 90% is close enough to 100% for a lot of things, it’s not nearly the same as being there. There was not even a moment of darkness or even dimness, only long shadows and cooling breezes.
There is a reason why there is a term “The Path Of Totality” and not a term “The Path of It’s Close Enough.” I am reminded of which path I want to follow…
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