Yesterday. August 21, 2017. Millions of people stopped.
Millions of people stopped and looked up.
Looked up from phones.
In 2017, that's profound.
Millions of people stopped. Dropped what they were doing. And looked up.
For a moment, it seems, different people in different places, rested from the unrest.
Many people made a point of putting all the other things in life on hold, just to catch a glimpse of something out of their control. People looked up.
And some, chased totality.
This Eclipse. The Solar Eclipse of 2017. It happened at such a pivotal time. It happened at a time when people are more buried in looking down than, perhaps, ever before. It happened when people find themselves tied to desks and email and meetings and… and… It happened at a time when some shout from the rooftops that there is absolutely nothing that the American population can find any sort of agreement or middle ground on. A time when poilitcs and religion and culture and sometimes, even just breathing, can divide and do divide whole masses of people each minute… hour… day…
The Eclipse that brought the moon and the sun together in one place, also brought many people together with some understanding that the day was about the day. Not about the past or the future. But the very minute we were in.
The event yesterday — the magestic act of the moon and the sun lining up, in some places, completely in unison — it brought people in community. It had people quiet in awe. It had people cheering in jubilation. It had people covered in goosebumps. It had people looking up.
And then the people who chose to not look up; the people who did weren't worried about them. People had their different opinions of it and for what it seemed, allowed those opinions to be. Instead of allowing them to incite emotion or become affronted by then as so many differences seem to do.
To explain what I felt during the over two minutes of 100% totality… the point where people could take their glasses off and just suck up the time…it was a rush of calm. Of peace. For me, it was both religious and scientific. That sounds dramatic. It sounds like hyperbole. But truly, it was the most fervent display from the heavens I've ever viewed. Because the beauty, it was like a small glimpse of something profoundly greater than what my mind can fathom. And the amount of things that had to go right… the lining up… the clouds parting… the glasses not being fake. The amount of rightness and things which were out of my control — out of our control — that had to occur to catch just a smidge of a miracle, well, that was my church.
And the science. The nature. The way that the planets and the stars and the moon and the sun… for one day, they had to be in agreement. For one day, they got to make shit happen and have people that otherwise would be looking down, look up. And they ruled the skies and so many eyes. They created smiles and tears and chills. And for thousands — perhaps millions — they did not disappoint.
I watched as my kids were truly captivated for just a wrinkle in time. I watched them excited over the true power of nature. I watched them stop. And look up.
And truly, all felt right. Not because we were all ignoring life. But because we were living the very moment that paused us.
And for all the reports of those who chased totality, no one seemed to regret it. At least not those I've talked with.
It's not much unlike life. Life where priorities, daily, are replaced by busy. Where people feel unrested. Unsatiated. Unsure with the climate of the world. And of the times. Life where — in a time where people can know more than ever, where they can have more immediacy than any other time — people feel bogged down by news and doubt and not knowing what is real. Life that maybe, for some, feels dark.
But yesterday, those who gathered, those who looked up… they got to see the light. They got to have a moment eclipsed by something bigger. They got to know that beneath the darkness, light still lives and creeps out from beneath it all. But we just don't always stop to feel it or see it or take it in.
Instead of stopping to smell the roses, we stopped to watch the Eclipse of 2017 and I dare say, it was one of the most powerful pauses I've personally, ever experienced.
The Middlest proclaimed it to be the best total solar eclipse he's ever seen. He said the part he liked best was when he got to take off his glasses and look up. The Oldest said he was happy we traveled. And the Littlest wondered when we'd get to do it all again. I put my phone down for a bit of the time because I couldn't possibly capture the real feeling through a lens. I kissed the hubs as I felt a grin from ear to ear because I couldn't help note, once again, that after going through everything — after being sick — I got to see some type of what I believe might have been heaven gracing earth. Science coming to our doorstep. And nature, just being a badass like usual.
Some people chased totality. Some people didn't or couldn't but still made a point of going outside to get their view in their area. View even 40 or 60 or 98%. And I believe that so many who stopped, they were perhaps the hopeful. The ones who believed they might be able to experience something that would take their breath right out of their bodies and feel a little bit of true, celestial peace.
In this time. In life. In all of our history as a nation and a world. One thing remains the same. People will continue to chase totality every day in their lives. They will strive to find wholeness. Completeness. Fulfillment. And even grace and peace. They will attempt to see something and not just feel whole but to be whole. And maybe, just maybe, they now know what happens when they stop. Pause. And look up.