By MARY BETH MAASSEN
I loved the solar eclipse! We drove north to Idaho to experience the once-in-lifetime event in totality.
We stayed in a palatial home on the edge of a creek at the base of Mount Baldy in Sun Valley. Wholly enthralled with the surrounding beauty we dubbed the experience “Hoity-Toy-tality” and .the party commenced.
There were nine of us, and the morning of the celestial event we lined our chairs up along the balcony to wait for the eclipse. We had concocted a special eclipse cocktail–that was basically a margarita with a little orange juice (to make it healthier, of course). Somewhere off in the distance you could hear Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon, playing over, and over, and over, and over again. Neighbors began to pop up on rooftops like prairie dogs searching the horizon, careful not to lean too far back lest they fall off the roof. It was a tailgate party, only better because there was a really nice bathroom just 30 feet away.
Soon the sky darkened, the temperature dropped, and we watched, captivated, (special eclipse glasses on, of course) as the moon slowly slipped over the sun. My torso felt heavier and denser, but my brain felt lighter and clearer as the atmosphere transformed from day to night. The diamond ring radiating momentarily in the black sky was mesmerizing, and then it simply vanished.
At the point of total eclipse, hoots and hollers echoed through the canyon as if the home team had just won the Super Bowl. And then it was over. And I wanted to experience it again.
There was not a rewind button I could hit, there was not another ticket I could buy, there was not another location I could visit to see it again. It was done and gone. I had the same feeling that I had right after I was hit by the bus, or right after I gave birth, or right after I got married … Whaaatt just happened!? I could not be unhit by the bus, or shove the baby back into the womb, or get unmarried—anytime soon anyway. Whaaatt just happened?!?
Most events last for just a few short moments, and we replay them over and over again in our mind. Many of them we capture as milestones, and they measure our mortality. Births, weddings, celebrations and deaths.
But the events created by Mother Nature are provided in her time. This universe bestows a remarkable bounty to keep us fed, clothed and sheltered. My eclipse experience has been a gentle rap on the noggin that I need to slow down and acknowledge, appreciate, and memorialize the fleeting moments … impressive landscapes, amazing sunsets, and every once in a great, great while, an unforgettable celestial event.