Last updated on: Jul 15, 2021
When I found out there was going to be a total eclipse spanning the US (an event that hasn’t occurred in the US in a century), I knew I had to see it. The only question was where to go?
From Oregon to South Carolina, the selection of places was endless. I chose Columbia, SC, which provided the backdrop for 2 of the most epic minutes of travel ever!!
The only other time I’d seen an eclipse was while watching National Geographic, and watching a solar eclipse on TV just doesn’t compare to witnessing it in person.
Everything was convenient and well organized at the South Carolina State Fairgrounds with people to direct cars entering and exiting, air-conditioned buildings to beat the heat, portable toilets, free eclipse glasses, live music, and food vendors. Many people had set up their tents, lawn chairs, and food, and relaxed by playing card games and eating.
It became very clear that South Carolina knows how to tailgate, regardless of the fact that there were many non-South-Carolinians there. With a tent and picnic lunch in nearly 100 degree temperatures with humidity, I waited with excitement and wondered if the nearby clouds would ruin the day. #noeclipsegate
During the partial eclipse, it actually started to rain. It was a weird experience of partial sun (due to the clouds) and partial rain during the partial eclipse. The rain ceased, and the moon continued covering the sun in a magnificent display.
With each second, the sun started looking like a glowing moon–first a half moon, then a crescent moon, then a sliver, until the sun was no longer visible. The two minutes of totality when I could look at the sun and the moon in alignment with my naked eye was extraordinary. The crickets began chirping, Venus became visible, and the light from the sun emanated from behind the moon like a halo.
It never got completely dark, and the sunlight radiating from the moon produced a cool, bluish tone in the sky instead of the warm, orange-ish tone we normally see from the sun.
For me, totality felt very spiritual. It was like looking into the eye of God and having a metaphysical connection with the cosmos.
And this celestial phenomenon should remind us that we all have a common connection–that we occupy the same planet, which we should be good stewards of.