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In a Golden Field - ‘Wooly Beast adventures to see the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017’

In a Golden Field - ‘Wooly Beast adventures to see the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017’


Camera, check.
Solar Eclipse glasses, check. 
Cooler filled with snacks and drinks, check.
Picnic blanket, check.
A good nights sleep, uh, not so much.

We had all these plans made....we thought we were good. We even went out to scout out a handful of coordinates that would work for camping since all the actual spots were taken. See, we didn't start planning until months before the eclipse which seemed like a reasonable amount of time.  However, we quickly found out that it was way after most people 'eclipse planned.' Any available hotels or airbnb’s were upwards of $1,000-2,000 for one night. These Eclipse planners are on it; they're legit. I guess we're just total eclipse amateurs.

Amateurs or not, we are very seriously moon OBSESSED.  I mean, we named our child 'Moon' for pete's sake! This name inspired our moon tattoos and subsequent moon mystical cleansing soap. So, despite our lack of pre-planning, we are very much crazy moon lovers.

And then we somehow forgot when the total eclipse was and made other plans which prevented us from camping.  When we realized the mistake we had made, it was too late to stick to the original plan.  So, as I often do, I went down a rabbit hole.  I read article after article to help us make our decision.....some said how totality wasn't worth all the hassle; how it just wouldn't be THAT different in Portland (I mean how big of a deal is a few percentages, right?).  Those articles made me feel okay about sticking around.  But it was the others that really stuck with me....the articles that compared totality vs. partial as your wedding vs. prom.  One article, in particular, described the experience of weeping, shaking, or shouting at the sight of totality...that sounded like a little more than a few percentage points to me.  And, the closer it got to eclipse time, the more and more I realized that I didn't want to just walk outside or go to our local park...I wanted it all. I wanted totality. I didn't want just prom night, I wanted the wedding night of solar eclipses. 

So that was that. I had made up my mind that we would try. It seemed impossible, given all the scary news reports, that we could just wake up and drive there at a decent hour, but that was the plan. We packed up the night before as if there may be an apocalypse while on the road. I mean, they were saying that a drive lasting normally an hour could take 9!

I couldn't sleep all night. I was tossing and turning and even had a dream that I woke to see the google map on my phone showing all red traffic. I finally got up at 5:30 am and looked, bracing myself for the worst. The roads to McMinnville, Oregon looked fairly clear. I found a winery that appeared to still have tickets and attempted to wake the crew.

I am not a morning person by any stretch of the imagination so the fact that I was up that early and super excited, told me how much I really wanted to do this. The rest of the crew, not so much. Nana, who's visiting, had a bad case of Vertigo and wasn't up to it (note: she's always up for anything). And Trevor said he slept only 2 hours and just wanted to “go back to bed.” I wanted to say, “get the eff up! This is a once in a lifetime event!! The difference between prom and your wedding night!” But I didn't. Instead I muttered something passive aggressive and walked out defeated.

But then he came in the room and said “I don't know what I was thinking. We're up now. It's not like I can go back to sleep. Let's go!” And then Nana decided to rally and we packed up and we're off!

We made it to the winery and saw a big sign saying “sold out.” But we found immediate parking directly across from the winery overlooking a large golden field that was dead from a long and dry Oregon summer. It was perfect. Cars were lined up along this small two lane wine country road. No one ventured into the field leaving it as a stage about to receive its finest performance yet. Quiet and courteous onlookers set up their cameras and telescopes directly in front of their cars.

When we arrived at 8:30 am it was already hot as the sun baked any green out of the golden grass. I moved quickly through all of my moon-inspired layers of clothing until I was down to an eclipse tank top. By 9:15, I could already feel a slight change in the air. And by 9:45, the air was crisp. We watched as the winery behind us grew darker. Dusk had quickly settled upon us as we watched the sun turn into a sliver. What happened next is hard to put into words.

As quickly as a wave comes in to capture your toes, the dark cool skies encompassed us. The sun was covered and you could hear cheering, laughter mixed with tears, and applauding. I remember being nervous about when to take the protective glasses off, but in that moment, we just knew what to do. We took them off and viewed totality with our naked eyes. Awe-inspiring and magical totality. It lasted what felt like seconds and then the glasses came back on and we watched the skies brighten almost as if a dimmer switch was being turned onto the world. And then it was over.  As quickly as it had come over us, the waves moved back out into the sea and left us exposed.  

Of course, there was really no photo or video that we or anyone else captured that could compare to what we experienced in that golden field off a small wine country road. Trevor did manage to shoot some video of it though, and uploaded it here. As cool as it is, its nothing like seeing the sun go completely black in the middle of the day, in person. That experience was surreal to say the least. All we have now are our memories....memories more like those at our wedding and not at all like prom...memories of the day the moon covered the sun in totality.  A once in a lifetime view that will never be forgotten.  


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  • Beautifully written. It was in deed a spiritual experience Sky. Thank you for making it happen. What amazed me was how bright the sky stayed even when there was but a sliver of sunshine left and how immediate the darkness covered the earth- and how rare and beautiful it seemed. I shall never forget it. What an amazing universe we live in!

    GLory aKa Nana
  • I love Babies party like a rock star. Great Eclipse saga, I just made a cereal box “viewer”. 97% here-Had,…. to settle.

    Dan Felland

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