I assigned the following journal prompt for my students:
Without using the word “eclipse,” use the “show, don’t tell” technique to describe the events before and after eclipse, and the eclipse itself. Make sure to include the following:
Buildup of tension
Description of action over feelings
All five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell)
I decided to journal, also, on this historical event. Here is my take on the experience:
I was running around, trying to make sure everyone was settled. I also felt like I needed to do something, to bustle about and look busy. I was afraid that once I saw the celestial phenomenon, I would not be impressed. Sometimes space events sound intriguing, but then I see it and I’m underwhelmed. Not a good feeling, to feel like you are above Creation. Not a “right” feeling.
Finally, I stood still and put on the inexpensive, All-American Shades my school had been gifted with. The sun was partially covered by the moon, and I was surprised how clearly I could see it. I hadn’t been sure what to expect, but I didn’t think I’d be able to really see anything through the glasses. However, the sun’s light enabled me to see its outline perfectly.
I helped Mrs. T lift the white bedsheet that she wanted to use to capture the wiggling shadows, but the experiment didn’t work. We set it back down, carefully, and tried to straighten it out just in case.
Turning back to the sun, I again perched my glasses on my face. I could hear Mr. M saying “Leave them on! Just a little bit more!” and then, in the final seconds of the moon closing in over the sun, I felt a wholly unexpected wave of panic come over me. The image of the darkness closing over the light affected me more than I thought it would. The moon was like a predator, about to swallow the sun whole.
Then the light of the world was gone, enough that I could look at its edges with just my plain eyes.
I was of course certain that the moon would pass again, but then again, nothing is guaranteed. The temperature had dropped, and I tasted an exciting panic in my mouth, goosebumps crawling across my skin. Another part of me had to close my jaw and I was giddy with a bubbly, ebullient feeling. I knew this wouldn’t last long, and I felt an urgency to just be.
The sun and the moon have done this before, they knew the score. They didn’t need us there, they would have taken part in this majestic ritual anyway. But we were all stars invited to take part in this heavenly performance.
The color was the most beautiful blue I have ever seen, indigo and warm and icy at the same time. I could have stood in that moment forever, transfixed, but then we were being alerted to put our glasses back on. I didn’t want to, like if I didn’t, I could possibly stop –or at least prolong — the movement of the sun and moon.
Well, I can’t, and really, I don’t want to. So I put the shades back on, and watched the light seep back into the sky.
I can’t find any pictures that capture that magic indigo, but I know the urgency to be is connected to it. I will find it if I keep looking.