I took a miniature tour of the south to see the solar eclipse, exploring Savannah before situating myself under the path of totalilty in Charleston. There, for a little less than two minutes and despite worrisome cloud cover, I witnessed the moon block out the sun.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t have an Annie-Dillard-style religious experience.
I’m not certain I was expecting to. Her description of the eclipse as terrifying and sublime, though goosebump-raising, had seemed outlandish to me. (I wonder how much of this is my being raised in the digital age, where magic has become practically ordinary. I wonder if we’re doing away with wonder.)
But nevertheless, there it was: the star that supports our whole planet, blotted out; the tiny corona of our survival. The people who’d gathered on the lawn at Charles Towne Landing whooped, cheered, applauded. We all took off our flimsy blackout glasses and looked up and out, for once, instead of down and inward.
The storm rolling in obscured the weirdness of the sudden dip in temperature and light, but I still saw a star or two at 2:46 in the afternoon.
In other words: I’m glad I went, and I’ll probably try to catch one or two more before my ride on this astral merry-go-round is over.