I had a total eclipse of the heart

When it comes to the 2024 solar eclipse, are you a believer or a skeptic?

I started out as a skeptic. I thought the eclipse would never live up to all the hype.

Folks at work held planning meetings monthly for the year leading up to this solar eclipse. I knew people who planned to take the day off work, travel for miles and even wear themed t-shirts on eclipse day. It all seemed like a bit much to me.

But at the same time, I can be a bit of a space nerd myself at times. I had to admit that it was very cool that the path of totality – the area that would be most impacted by the total solar eclipse – passed right over our home.

Truth be told, I felt a little anxious in the days before the eclipse. People were joking that it could herald the end of the world – and even though I don’t believe that, I still found it a bit unnerving.

Fellow GenXers will remember the song Total Eclipse of the Heart. It had its drama-filled moment back in 1983 and then faded into forgotten glory amongst other one-hit wonders. But it, too, was back in the spotlight in the days leading up to the total solar eclipse. You can’t blame me for feeling a bit out of sorts.

Our school district planned ahead and canceled school on the day of the solar eclipse. My husband took the day off work. Although I was working, it seemed like most of my colleagues were taking a few hours off to watch the eclipse; all meetings during that time were suddenly canceled.

And so, I found myself free to grab our eclipse glasses and go outside with my hubby to sit on our front lawn and look up at the sky. Although I was skeptical and even a bit anxious leading up to my first total solar eclipse, the experience was quite spectacular!

On the morning of eclipse day, I finally began to feel a little excited about this special space event. I put a message out on Facebook offering local friends living outside the path of totality an invitation to claim a spot on our lawn. I figured, why not share the experience, since we’re lucky enough to live on the dark side!

I had one friend take me up on the offer – Elisabeth, a longtime family friend whom I’ve known since we were tiny. She had traveled to Columbus just for the solar eclipse and it was so fun to catch up with her and geek out together during totality.

Hubby and I went outside and set up chairs on the lawn about 1:45 pm. It was honestly so nice to relax together and just gaze around at our yard and neighborhood, wondering how everything would change during totality.

I noticed that the sun seemed extra bright that April 8 – maybe it was my imagination, but it certainly seemed that way. Shadows seemed especially crisp in that bright sunlight. We were careful to only look at the sun with our dark eclipse glasses on.

Soon enough, we began to see a bite taken out of the bright sun in the bottom right corner. The “bite” grew bigger and, as the moon began to cover more of the sun, things started to change around us.

First, the air grew cooler. Once the sun was fully covered by the moon, it actually felt cold enough to bring a shiver! But perhaps the shiver was also from the otherworldly, surreal and eerie darkness in the afternoon sky.

At totality, where we had just stood in blazing bright sunlight, we were now covered by a cool, oddly unique dimness like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Our nighttime landscaping lights came on; the birds were oddly still and quiet.

There really wasn’t much sound at all except for brief fireworks set off by one excited neighbor. And, of course, there was me, staring all around as wide-eyed as a child, yelling “WOW! This is so cool! Totality is AMAZING!”

Yes, that’s right. In mere moments I went from skeptic and nervous-pervis to the world’s biggest solar eclipse fan. I am hooked now!

The 2024 total solar eclipse – right above our heads here in Lewis Center, Ohio – was without a doubt one of the top five most amazing life experiences I’ve ever had. IT BLEW MY MIND!

We are all in our heads so much. Our lives feel like a really big deal to us. We feel like our own main characters. But you know what else is true? We are tiny! We are wee, itty-bitty and insignificant specks in the universe.

On the day of the eclipse, I felt awe. It rocked me back in my seat – it made me pay attention. Here are some of the things I learned from the 2024 total solar eclipse:

  • If you love sunrises and sunsets, or nature in general (and I do!), you will love an eclipse; you don’t have to be super into space
  • FOMO is real and there are many man-made things worth missing, but anything to do with nature or space is a must-do. Especially something as rare as a total solar eclipse!
  • Catching up with an old friend during an eclipse is rad
  • WEAR THE GLASSES. I’m still seeing spots from a little oops/peek (yes, I’m that girl)
  • Nature, our planet, our world = AWE INSPIRING
  • It’s not just about staring at the sun through glasses – it’s about the light all around you.
  • I loved those two hours of mindful moments. We need to sit on the front lawn more often!
  • Beauty is ALL AROUND us if we slow down and take the time to notice it
  • Some things are more fun with lots of people. Some things are more fun at home with just a few.
  • FEELING the eclipse was just as cool as seeing it
  • I want to seek out more awe in my life

The other thing I learned that day is that I want to be an eclipse chaser! I’m total-ity serious… I know that they’re rare, but I really want to see another solar eclipse some day.

My first total solar eclipse experience was beautiful, moving, surreal, spooky, spiritual and transcendent. I can’t wait to do it again somehow, somewhere!

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat and snake mom. Travel nut. Natural born writer. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.
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