I always enjoy my midday texts. This one was funny.
Not to Supermom. She cried. Lady Bug has long flowy hair. She wanted to have a haircut like her sisters and she was obviously not happy that her hair stylist left things so long. She did a decent job.
We like random funny things. We have a collection of cat-butt magnets on the refrigerator. Supermom and I marveled at the accuracy for a little while today.
Who is tasked with modelling cat butts out of clay and thinks, “This is pretty good but it is missing something… I know! A really detailed butthole!”
My Facebook friends might have heard this one already. It was a deep thought. We were driving home the other night from my mother’s house. There was a deer at the edge of the roadway.
Child: Daddy! Look it is a mommy deer.
UD: Oh I see it! How do you know it is a mommy deer?
Child: It isn’t horny.
UD: That is a sure sign…. Good eye.
I am planning on having a discussion on antlers versus horns in the very near future.
After thinking long and hard about the consequences we decided to drive to a nearby state to watch the solar eclipse hit totality. I remember a partial eclipse from my childhood and I also remember holding two note cards and staring at a little shadow circle with a little wedge missing. My deep seated memory of that amazing celestial event could only be described as “boring as hell”. I wanted to see some spark from my own children and when the center of totality is only two hours away what else are you gonna do?
We packed the van as if some strange virus from “I Am Legend” was sweeping the land and we would have to live on the shoulder of an abandoned highway. Waters. Juice. Peanut Butter. Snacky snacks. Watermelon. Picnic Blanket. Chairs. Small Folding Table. Trash Bags. Frosted Mini-Wheats (To dip in Peanutbutter, Trust me – best thing ever.) Powerade. Energy Drinks. Homemade Trail Mix. Fake International Passports and Stacks of Multi-National Currency. You get the idea. We were ready to survive if some shit went down.
I mentally prepared for gridlock traffic. A grueling ten-hour drive when normal conditions would allow for a two-and-a-half-hour trip. The warnings from media outlets described national emergency levels of chaos. I heard some communities were threatening to use snow plow equipment to keep roads clear.
We loaded the kids in the van and departed town at 7 o’clock am. Zero traffic. We drove straight to our destination with a smooth three hours to spare. We had cell phone service the entire time and live streamed the coverage on the west coast. The kids all wore their masks correctly and enjoyed watching the moon creep up on the sun. It was magical.
Then came the solar climax. Our group gathered in an open field and watched through our glasses as the small orange sliver disappeared. Once our solar glasses went dark we took them off and stared at the glowing ring in the sky. It was beautiful. It was like a black hole surrounded by a crown of light. Bugs and birds and frogs created the sounds of nighttime. The wind and traffic calmed. The world around us was still and dark and perfect. No one in our group reached for an iPhone. That was how good the moment was. Everyone knew that it was rare and limited to a precious few moments. No picture could capture totality. None of mine anyway.
The term “totality” might be the only good description for the event.
For once, in what seems like a long time, my world was filled with people looking in the same direction at a beautiful moment in life. There weren’t any people offended by the eclipse or threatened by it. Maybe some conspiracy people were concerned but I think they were sort of excited to see if their bat-shit-crazy ideas might somehow come true. Flat-earthers might have been hard at work explaining the event but for two minutes they were looking up in utter confusion. We all watched objects that exceed our concept of size and power. We were reminded that no matter what stands in your way, if even a tiny spec of your light escapes into the world, there can be no darkness. Being exposed to less than 1% of the sun still requires special glasses.
How does a 100% sun not make us burst into flame immediately?
As the light returned I realized that I had been absorbed in the moment. I may have had a small tear resting at the edge of my eye. Probably allergies. We traveled several hours to sit in the front yard of a relative stranger and stare at the sky for almost three minutes. We left with a memory that will last a lifetime. And perhaps a small white dot in the center of our vision. Time will tell.
To those who chase memories, this post is for you. You’re welcome. For the people who didn’t make it to the direct path remember that we have another chance in 2024. The difference between 100% and 99% isn’t 1%, it is literally night and day. Make the drive. Skip the classes. Be prepared to pee behind a bush on the side of a rural highway. No one dedicates delicate oil paintings to the shadows made from solar viewers made out of note cards and cereal boxes. #Sorrynotsorry
-Underdaddy to the rescue.