It’s A Marvelous Night for a Moondance

by Nancy Bestor

When Bob suggested that we make the trek up north last month to see the total solar eclipse, I have to admit I was feeling a little ho hum about it. Astronomy and the cosmos have never really been my thing, but they are definitely Bob’s, and because I’m always usually sometimes willing to compromise in my marriage, I agreed that we should go. We were fortunate that our daughter Sarah is currently living in Corvallis, attending Oregon State University (go Beavs!), which was directly in the zone of totality. Being the kind young woman that she is, she offered up her college house for us to stay. Summer classes were cancelled at OSU that day, and the University opened their fields for eclipse watchers to see the moon completely cover the sun. Additionally, they gave out free eclipse glasses for all (I wish we had known they would do that when we were panicking to find some glasses the week prior to the eclipse, but I digress).

We drove the 222 miles from Ashland to Corvallis late on Saturday night (the eclipse was Monday morning). We were worried about traffic, as for days and weeks leading up to the big event, we read reports that traffic was sure to be gridlocked on all roads leading to and from the zone of totality, including Interstate 5. However, the road was clear as can be on Saturday night, and we arrived in Corvallis in our usual 3 ½ hours.

The city seemed fairly quiet on Sunday. We brought our bikes in case traffic around town was too hectic for driving, but we never used them, as there was none. Monday morning dawned clear as a bell, and by 9am we were sitting on the OSU intramural fields, along with perhaps 1000 other people. As the moon began covering the sun, we donned our glasses and watched the amazing phenomenon.

When the moon covered the sun completely, it was indeed dark at 10:17am in the morning. We could see stars and planets, and the temperature cooled noticeably. It’s hard to describe how amazingly crazy and wonderful the total eclipse was. And this coming from someone who’s “not into astronomy.”

When the moon had covered the sun about halfway, many people on the fields started clapping. Sarah rolled her eyes and said “ha ha, these people are clapping.” As the moon completely covered the sun, Sarah too started clapping and said, “I’m clapping now too!!!!” Because what else could she do? It was worth every clap and oohh and ahhh, and then some.

Bob and I headed back to our car very quickly, and were on the road for Ashland by 10:40am, and thank goodness, because we avoided almost all traffic, and were home in about 4 hours. Friends who left just a little later were stuck in I-5 gridlock for hours. But I’m guessing they’d say it was worth it. I’m so glad Bob and I experienced the total solar eclipse. I should compromise more often.

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