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Ma Nature Comes Through!

Earlier this year, in my post Our 2024 Eclipse…Mother Nature’s Cosmic Gift I explained why the then upcoming eclipse was not just an extraordinary occurrence, but extra-terrestrially extraordinary, extra-galacticly extraordinary, extra-any-adverb-I-could-think-of extraordinary.

Ma N manifests her powers in many ways.


The astronomical aspect of the marvelous alignment of sun, moon and earth (and not just “earth”, but that tiny spot on earth in Vermont that I call home), was to occur with an inevitability second only to the passage of time itself.  {Second?  Well, ask the next dinosaur you see – and OK, I  guess you could count your parrot — about the effects of big asteroids crashing into planets – as rare as such an event may be.}

No, that the eclipse would occur wasn’t the concern.  The concern was that the history of that other key aspect of Ma N’s involvement, the weather in Vermont, gave a greater than 2 in 3 chance of cloud cover here on the day.  

Call me selfish, but a rainy day that goes night-time dark for a couple of minutes in the middle of the day???  Unique, perhaps, but if I ever win the lottery, a prize of a buck ninety eight won’t cut it.

So, what happened?

Ma N!  May I never exhaust my appreciation for your defying the odds, for letting all of us here see the Full Monty.  Or, to be more accurate, the reverse Full Monty, the usually exhibitionist Sun being briefly covered to reveal what are almost always its truly private parts, its corona.

Two other of our regular Creative Nonfiction Workshop contributors joined me in writing individual eclipse experience essays that I would like to share with you.  

Joseph Dumoulin’s eclipse [link] was a family experience, on Clark Mountain in the Adirondacks. 

      “Maybe our corona will be the memories of us by those we leave behind.”

Heeding Annie Dillard’s assertion that a partial eclipse would be small change compared to the real deal,  Guorong Zhu’s essay [link] describes her drive of several hours from home in Lexington, Mass., (93% partial) to Newport, Vermont, for those ecstatic few minutes of totality.

“It’s not about the difference between 93% and 100%,” I proudly proclaimed on my social media. “It’s the difference between 0 and 1. It’s the difference between heaven and earth.”

      “It’s the difference between living your life and not living.  Totality, I saw you.” 

My eclipse experience [link] was shared with my wife, four long-time friends and indeed some new acquaintances: one friend, Dan Seeley, an amateur astronomer/photographer, had organized a community eclipse viewing event in Richford, Vermont.

  “For a hundred people or more, old and young, reverenced silence.  Awe…

“The end of totality is met with some incongruous applause for Mom Nature’s show. She has done good:  We offer her a Prosecco toast.”

Here (with permission) are a few of Dan’s photos, which illustrate mentions in the essays…

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