Total Eclipse of the Heart
Header photo was taken by NASA
As you probably already know, earlier this week there was a solar eclipse. If you didn’t know that was happening, well… I’m just impressed that you were able to avoid all of social media, the news, and people in general, because everyone was talking about it.
So I was one of the lucky few to witness the solar eclipse on Monday (few meaning, 4.4 million people - stop and let that 4-point-4-million sink in).
A while back my dad had mentioned going to see the solar eclipse, and when he told me, I immediately responded with “I wanna go see it too!” Since then, my whole immediate family has been planning our “Family Solar Eclipse Trip.” Although there were a lot of great places to view the solar eclipse in totality, we zeroed in on Nebraska. Why Nebraska you ask? Well, there are several reasons for this: 1) no one in my immediate family has been to Nebraska, and it's about time we checked that state off our bucket list. 2) We assumed there was going to be fewer people in Nebraska. 3) Nebraska was supposed to have clear skies, and some great views of the solar eclipse. 4) Because we also wanted to road trip around part of the Midwest. So with all of that in mind, we headed off to Nebraska.
We left Rapid City, South Dakota (more on that in a later blog post) and headed South towards Harrison, Nebraska. Originally we were planning on making our way down towards Alliance, but due to the weather forecast predicting cloudy skies there, we didn’t want to take our chances, so we drove toward clearer skies.
After stopping to get gas in Harrison, NE (which, mind you, was a brilliant idea to fill up on gas before the eclipse, rather than after), we continued driving a few miles and found a nice country dirt road to watch the solar eclipse. It was nice because it wasn’t crowded, and we could really only see 3 or 4 other vehicles off in the distance. It was just our family, along with a herd of cows.
As the moon slowly moved in front of the sun, the landscape started to change. At first, it felt as though a storm was blowing in. The temperature dropped, the winds started picking up, all the bugs stopped buzzing around, the grasshoppers started chirping, and it felt like the sun was shining brightly behind a heavy rain cloud. When we looked off in the distance, we could clearly see the distinct darkness moving across the landscape coming in our direction. It was incredibly eerie. The most interesting part was the cows and their erratic behavior. Previously, they had been mindlessly grazing, some in their pasture, and a few outside the fence along the dirt road. As soon as the sky started to take on it's uncanny darkness, the cows began to go into panic mode. The ones inside the fence moved quickly towards their barn to bed down, and the cows that had been on the outside of the fence were frantically trying to catch up with the rest of the herd. One cow never even made it over the fence and had to watch the solar eclipse with us (and by “watched” I mean, it actually ran up and down the fence line in a hysterical panic just trying to somehow get over the fence).
Once the moon completely covered the sun in totality, it was the strangest feeling in the world. It wasn’t something I had ever experienced before, and I thought to myself, how am I ever going to describe this to someone else? It felt and almost looked like the middle of the day, yet it looked and felt like it was night time. Everything was dark, yet there was still light - almost like living in a dream world, or alternate reality. The closest thing I feel as though I can compare it to, is daytime in Alaska in the middle of winter, but even that doesn’t do it justice.
Just take a look at some of my photos, so you can see for yourself.
I know this maybe hard to tell, but the 4th & 5th picture are taken from the exact same perspective, just one was taken before totality, and the other was taken during.
After totality ended and the light quickly reappeared, everything seemed to go back to normal. The temperature rose, the winds slowed down, and the cows slowly got up from their 2-minute slumber. Everything went back to how it was, almost as if it had never happened.
Witnessing this first hand was definitely an experience I will never forget. Nor will I forget the hours upon hours of traffic we sat through just to make our way back to Denver. Hahaha! I’m glad I can laugh about it now, but at the time all that traffic was so stressful.
As what seemed like all 4.4 million people and their cars made their way through the little towns of Nebraska, we saw families coming out of their homes, sitting in their lawns, and waving as they watched the parade of cars inch their way down the streets. Surprisingly, there were lane closures on the highways outside of the towns, and state troopers and cops directing traffic every which way. I wouldn’t be surprised if every officer was required to be on duty because of the heavy traffic. Gas stations were packed - any pit-stop with a restroom had a 30+ minute wait. Would I do it all again? Of course, in a heartbeat! I would sit through all the traffic again just to experience this breathtaking event.
Word on the street is there is going to be another solar eclipse in a few years, so mark your calendars for April 8, 2024!
Huge thank you to the people in Nebraska, and other areas in the path of totality who shared their cities, lands, roadways, and grassy parks with all of us. Also, thank you to all the officers, state, and government officials who helped make our roadways safe for all the travelers.
I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog! I hope it's brought a little light-hearted joy to your life, and it’s full of beautiful inspiration.
If you’re interested in shopping my picks, I’ve posted links below, or you can shop my looks here.
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