Total & Partial Eclipses

Thursday, September 7th, 2017 | The Dating Game, Travel

I flew to Orlando a few weeks ago, to visit my beau-in-waiting, my Jersey-accented, deep voiced, furry-forearmed, bushy-tailed Kelley. It was our second and — as it turned out — final date, deciding afterwards that a prolonged long-distance courtship wasn’t appealing to either of us. He had flown to San Francisco several months prior and we had a wonderful visit, exploring the Sonoma Coast, watching and complaining about the new corporate purveyors of gay marketability at the SF Pride parade, celebrating our own little summer of love in Golden Gate Park…

From Orlando we drove up to South Carolina for the total solar eclipse, with an overnight stop in Augusta, Georgia. Augusta was founded in 1735 by James Oglethorpe, two years after founding Savanna, and settled by Noble Jones. Oglethorpe named the town in honor of Augusta, Princess of Wales, the mother of British monarch King George III. Augusta has a lovely tree-lined downtown with many interesting buildings from the early 19th- to mid-20th centuries. In the center of town is a delightful statue of local singer and Godfather of Soul, Mr. Dynamite, Mr. Please Please himself, James Brown, designed to encourage interaction and selfies.

The drive through South Carolina took us through dense green forests, cotton fields and many quaint southern towns. Our travel mate selected a cotton field in the middle of the line of totality, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It was a stunningly perfect spot from which to view the eclipse, the sky open with only a smattering of clouds on the horizon.

Just prior to totality, the cicadas started chirping, the light of the sun dimmed, the dog ran under the car, the clouds turned pink, and an instant twilight settled on us. The moon’s blackness created a sort of hole in the sky, encircled by the sun’s fuzzy corona. I researched a lot of myths associated with eclipses and couldn’t find anything that matched my experience of it. At that moment of totality, the darkness of the moon created the illusion of an orifice, a black hole surrounded by flaming fur, the mysteries of the universe opening for us all to penetrate.

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