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Department Of How To Describe The Indescribable
Total Eclipse Of The Blog
My family and I joined twelve friends on an adventure to the Central Oregon high desert area, where we were able to find a prime viewing spot just above the Lake Billy Chinook gorge, with Mt. Jefferson to the west. We watched the eclipse in all its phases, from first contact  through the end, and were able to experience just under two minutes of totality.
Astronomers, other scientists, science geeks and groupies and other laypersons have tried, with varying degrees of evocative articulation, to speak and/or write about Monday’s solar eclipse. Check NASA’s site for links to superlative photos and videos, if you’re interested.
As for moiself, I am still processing my experience, and thus am hesitant to write much about it.
Our longtime family friend  MM is a NASA astronomer and solar eclipse-o-phile.  MM was the impetus and initial organizing force for the trip – his third (and our first) to the area of a solar eclipse totality zone. In a heartfelt FB post, MM wrote about how it is difficult to put the experience of seeing a total solar eclipse into words…yet he managed to do so, IMHO, with concision and beauty:
It’s such an immersive experience with the Earth, the shadow, the moon, and the sun. … I’ve always said that “it speaks to your lizard brain,” which still doesn’t do it justice in any way. The indifference of the moon grinding on in its orbit while we humans gather in the shadow speaks to many things and moved me to tears.
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Department Of Please Stop Saying That
Allegedly Sentient Biped A: Let’s go see the Transformers movie tonight at the multiplex. Meet you there at seven-fifteen?”
Allegedly Sentient Biped B: Awesome!
The mis- and over-use of that adjective has bothered me for ages. But now that I have truly experienced something which merits the description of being
magnificent, majestic, imposing, splendid, spectacular, grand, awe-inspiring, striking, stunning, breathtaking, impactful
etc., I don’t know if I can continue to tolerate hearing awesome used in conjunction with the unfortunate myriad of comparatively ordinary, pedestrian objects and situations to which it is applied.
You know what this means.
I’m afraid I’m going to turn into One Of Those People Who Corrects Other People On Their Word Usage. ®
All things considered, could you blame me, the next time some nonchalant café server attempts the following interaction?
Server: “Have you decided what to order?”
Moiself: “Yes, I’ll have your quinoa lingonberry salad special.”
Moiself: “Uh…thank you for lauding my selection, but, trust me, I’ve seen awesome, and your salad – anyone’s salad – ain’t it.”
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Department Of We Are The World/We Are The Sunset
Perhaps the most memorable of the eclipse moments was also, for me, the most unexpected. It occurred during the totality, when I tore my gaze away from watching the extension of the solar corona and looked down, and around, at the horizon. There was another totality to be seen – that of the sunset effect. I turned in a circle, and instead of seeing a sliver of the pink/red glow of dusk to the west, it was in all directions: 360 degrees of “sunset.”
It blew my effin’ mind.
Without using any external technology (compass; GPS) or just previously knowing where you were (okay; Mt. Jefferson was to the west so we are facing east…), there were none of the usual solar clues to orient you. You could not tell east from west from north from south. For just under two minutes, “direction” or orientation didn’t matter.
What a humbling perspective. Could it make a difference, I wondered, if people all over the world could see it?
When I attempted to explain my experience to my son K and daughter Belle, K mischievously accused me of having “one of your hippie moments.”
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May you appreciate those times when direction doesn’t matter;
May you prioritize seeing, at least once in your life, a total solar eclipse;
May you live long and well enough to have legitimately awesome experiences;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 He and MH’s association goes back to mid 1980s Caltech.
 If there is such a thing, and I think that there is.