For weeks, it was all over the news. Everyone was talking about it. People were flocking to Nashville. Hotels and bars were packed. It all seemed like another super-hyped special event for a city that loves its own super-hyped special events. More noise in a noisy world. I was kind of over it before it ever happened. It was still Monday.
But then, just before noon central time the eclipse began. To see a small bite being taken out of the sun was surreal. It sparked wonder of what our ancestors must have thought. It challenged me to locate myself in a galaxy, not just a city or country or even planet. All I wanted to do was watch and absorb. Shrink.
But, as the moon covered more and more of the sun over the next hour and a half or so, we battled overcast skies, worried we were going to miss this magnificent moment we had been sold for so many weeks. As the time got nearer, the clouds got heavier. Oh, our misfortune! Oh well.
Totality was moments away. We would miss it. Carry on. It’s Monday.
And, then the clouds broke. There it was. The glowing ring around the complete blackness of the moon. A void with fiery red flashes along the right side. It was nighttime around us. An orange sunset spanned all horizons. The crickets began chirping. The birds went to sleep. There were bats flying around.
All of nature was out of sorts – or, were we all actually in perfect sorts? Present with it.
My reaction and excitement completely surprised me. I was giddy. Oh my! Holy cow! That is unbelievable! Look at that! Goose bumps. Watery eyes. I encouraged my daughters (3 and 5) to try and take it in. This breathtaking moment; mathematically predictable and yet profoundly spiritual. I felt powerfully tiny and humbly expansive.
And then, a piercing white light emerged. Seductive. The “diamond ring.” It was so small and specific. For that brief moment, it felt like a spot light, a beam being sent directly to me. Individual. As it grew, we were all flooded by white light like none of us had ever known. The intense contrast of stage lighting. The hyper-reality of it made us all aware of each other, engulfing us in wonder, looking, observing.
Inexplicable waves of shadows washed under our feet.
And, then it was over.
It was one minute and fifty-five seconds of totality (official time).
One minute and fifty-five seconds on a Monday of observing light.
One minute and fifty-five seconds on a Monday of watching nature.
One minute and fifty-five seconds on a Monday of trying to locate myself in the cosmos.
One minute and fifty-five seconds on a Monday of deeply shared experience with others.
One minute and fifty-five seconds on a Monday of complete presence.