August 21, 2017- Lake Hartwell, GA
1:00 P.M. Even though I know that the eclipse won’t start for another eight minutes, I anxiously look up at the sun with my eclipse glasses. I have to hold them on my face because they won’t stay by themselves.
1:06 P.M. My little cousin Zoey is running around on the porch while I try to explain to her that she can’t look up at the sun without her eclipse glasses. I eventually give up and let her do her own thing.
1:08 P.M. I am the first to notice that the tiniest, tiniest speck of the sun disappears. No one believes me until about 30 seconds later, when they too, can see that it’s missing. I then get to enjoy that “I told you so” feeling.
1:10 P.M. Because the news has spread to everyone inside the lakehouse that the eclipse has started, we all head down to the dock. The adults find a lounge chair to sit in while my cousin, brother, and I play fetch with Layla, my aunt’s dog.
1:51 P.M. The sun is about halfway covered by the moon, and I am sitting in a noodle chair in the lake, looking up at the sun with my glasses every other minute or so. My cousin, meanwhile, is giving my brother “presents.” She’s really just splashing him in the face.
2:02 P.M. I know that the total eclipse is happening in about 20 minutes, so I get out of the lake and head up to the dock’s second level, where I set up a chair for myself and my mom. I can barely contain my excitement. But for some reason, I’m also feeling a little uneasy.
2:13 P.M. It is very obvious now that it is getting darker. It’s almost as if it’s dusk, but the sun is still right above me. It feels a little weird, almost apocalyptic.
2:19 P.M. Almost everyone is sitting in chairs on the upper level of the dock now. I am nearly shaking with anticipation. I can’t stop moving. I tap my foot and drum my fingers incessantly.
2:23 P.M. Three minutes until the total eclipse is scheduled to start, my mom insists that we take a family picture. My aunt and uncle request that we take a photo of them as well. Zoey refuses to be in the picture and instead walks around with a towel on her head, calling it her “hair.”
2:25 P.M. Somehow my family is still taking pictures, but I am fed up so I beg my mom not to take anymore. For goodness sakes, the total eclipse is starting in less than a minute! I hold the eclipse glasses to my face and stare at the slimmest crescent of sun, until all that’s left is a tiny dot of light on the left side of the sun. And that dot just keeps getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller…
2:26 P.M. My glasses come off. All around me it is dark, except for the orange color on the horizon, surrounding me in 360 degrees. I look up.
Earlier that morning- at home.
9:17 A.M. I wake up to a text from my mom, containing a link to a Ted Talk. I open it and start watching the video, soon discovering that the talk is about solar eclipses. A man named David Baron is speaking about the time he first witnessed a total solar eclipse. It had a profound effect on him, leading him to become an “eclipse chaser.” I think to myself, “Hm. What an odd dude.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the total eclipse that I’m going to see today will be cool, but I don’t really understand how it can really have any effect on you.
Later that afternoon- Lake Hartwell.
2:26 P.M. I immediately understand David Baron’s words. At first sight of it, my heart leaps out of my chest. I feel calm but excited at the same time. At peace, but invigorated. Carefree, yet my heart is quickening. I absorb this feeling, hoping to find somewhere in my body where it can stay forever. I am awestruck. Speechless. I feel enlightened. Content. My spirits are higher than ever before. The emotions all combine and fill me completely. It’s not the eclipse itself that Baron was so obsessed with, it was the feeling that came along with it.
2:27 P.M. A minute has already passed, but it feels like only seconds. There’s less than a minute left of totality, but I want the eclipse to last forever. I’m obsessed with this feeling, I want to feel like this again. I have to. Suddenly, a beam of light shoots out from the right side of the sun. It gets instantly brighter. I start to get anxious. It can’t be ending already, can it?
2:28 P.M. It’s too bright to look at the eclipse now. In a matter of seconds, all of the light returns and it’s the middle of the day again, as though nothing changed. I almost feel disappointed, but instead, I feel thankful. Thankful that I was able to witness something like this, something as breathtaking as a total solar eclipse. The excitement leaves me, but the tranquility stays.
People say that witnessing a total solar eclipse is once in a lifetime. And David Baron believes that everyone owes it to themselves to see a total solar eclipse. I believe, however, that everyone owes it to themselves to do everything in their power to see as many eclipses as possible. After this day, August 21st, a day that will always be engraved in my memory, I know that I owe it to myself to experience that feeling again. The feeling may not come for everyone. In fact, it may only happen for very few people. Nonetheless, seeing this spectacular solar event is something you will remember forever. If you have the opportunity to behold something as amazing as a total eclipse, you should consider yourself lucky. And if you experience that same feeling I did, you can consider yourself one of the luckiest people in the world.