Like many others I eagerly awaited August 21, 2017 for a chance to see a total eclipse. In Helen, Georgia that meant 1 minute and 41 seconds of complete darkness. People flocked to our town and others within the path of totality. Many events took place in the surrounding wineries, parks, schools and communities. Wanting to avoid gridlock, we chose to have our own celebration at the Innsbruck Club house overlooking the golf course, and a regular meeting place for local residents.
About 50 people showed up with side dishes to compliment the burgers my husband cooked on the grill. Moonshine cake and moon pies sat among the salads while the bartenders served up Tequila Sunrise cocktails. The sky was clear, a telescope for viewing sat on the veranda porch alongside golf clubs, balls and corn hole games. Everyone brought their viewing glasses and excitement, the eclipse had just begun with the moon slowly casting a shadow over the sun.
I’d glance up at different stages, taking a few photos with my iPhone. We milled about, socialized, ate, drank and looked up again. An amateur photographer with a professional camera rigged a solar filter by duck tapping part of the eclipse glasses to his lens. After an hour and a half the sky became grey. Everyone spread out on the porch, parking lot and even the golf range for the moment of totality. It was easy to spot through the cardboard glasses since everything including the sliver of light went black, then it was safe to look directly at the sun. I stared in awe, mesmerized for almost two minutes until the sun, known as the diamond ring, peeked through the other side.
Afterwards, about half of the crowd left, not really interested in the waning of the moon passing over the sun. The rest of us shot golf balls off the deck with the goal of hitting the 9th hole about 100 yards in the distance. A young lady in her early 20’s hit her ball closest to the flag, as professional golfers competed against her shot to no avail. Drinks and some new age conversation flowed until the sun and heat returned full force and the party dwindled.
I had witnessed partial eclipses in the past, but it doesn’t compare to a total eclipse. During the brief moment of totality the world seemed so different and so small in comparison to the universe. I later learned that this phenomenon occurs every two years in different parts of our world. I found it so memorizing that I’d consider myself a total eclipse chaser. Here I come South America in 2019.