It was wonderfully nostalgic -- here's a photo of me in front of Fairbanks Hall, the art building, which seems almost entirely unchanged since I graduated. The atmosphere, with smells of paint and views out the old glass windows, is just as I remembered. The gallery inside was hosting a really well-conceived show, titled "Totality."
I was totally enchanted by the cast shadows that were the reverse of what we were looking at in the sky (with our special glasses on, of course).
I was alternatively looking at the sun with my glasses and then taking them off to see what was happening on the ground. All the while the air was cooling as the sunlight diminished. (The white stripe bisecting the image with blue/green background is boundary line on the sports court.)
Suddenly it seemed like the moon snapped fully over the sun. I felt that I heard a sonic boom. Then it was dark above, with a glow 360 degrees around the edges of the horizon as if the sun had set not long ago... simply gorgeous. We were able to look up without the glasses during that time and try to absorb what we were seeing.
The image of the moon in front of the sun was so powerful. We were awe-struck. I feel like the image is imprinted on my brain -- I can be recall it in a very clear way. The eclipse tinted us and everything around us a metallic gray color. The shimmery glow around the moon was beautiful. Totality lasted less than two minutes and then the moon began to move off the sun. We put our glasses back on and watched the remainder of the eclipse until the sun shone fully again. I have a whole new recognition of the three dimensionality of the moon and sun in space now.
I'm wondering how experiencing the eclipse might affect my work in the future. I've always loved circles and have taught myself how to rip pretty good ones, if a little ragged, to use in my collages.
I was struck when I got home from the trip and looked anew at this collage, "Replay," made in 2012, which hangs over my desk. The correlations are rather interesting... it has a painted background with salvaged and painted papers applied on top. And yes, I ripped all those yellow-gold circle shapes and the half circle negative strips.
While the rest of the family has declared themselves to be total umbraphiles, I'm still processing this stunning experience... not sure if seeing another would diminish or enhance the power of the first experience. If you've never seen a total solar eclipse though, I believe it’s worth making the effort to get a location where you can experience totality... as my favorite commemorative t-shirt read, "Totality Worth It!"