When the alarm buzzed, my first thought was … uuggghhhh – another hour PLEASE! The next thought was that the sun isn’t going to wait on ME. Best to get moving. Seriously though, 3:00 a.m. is waaaay to early to be conscious (unless I’m still awake reading a book from the night before).
But there we were, by 4:00 a.m., on the Interstate to Torrington, Wyoming to see the total solar eclipse. We were invited to park at the municipal airport by locals at the breakfast diner, our first stop. After all, coffee was critical.
Lots of coffee.
This was my first experience with a total eclipse and one I will never forget. It was everything promised: dogs barking (one howled), the delicate 360 degree pink dawn on the horizon and the incredible corona. I saw the diamond ring and the beaded edge. Stunning.
Everyone we encountered was extraordinarily pleasant and kind.
Folks from neighboring cars chatted together. Private pilots commiserated over all those planes flying in and joined together at this uncontrolled airport to find places for everyone to park.
Geeks discussed lenses and filters and shared views through their cameras. A physicist from Los Alamos was clearly in his element teaching kids about the sun and letting them gaze at his contraption outfitted with a riflescope and a 3X5 card. The image of the sun was crystal clear; you could even see three sunspots.
Citizens of Torrington had plenty of open space for viewing at their tiny airport and provided port-a-potties, water, commemorative t-shirts and a burrito food truck. The welcome mat was definitely out.
Earlier, in the diner, one local man said if there wasn’t room at the airport, we could park in his driveway, and gave us his home address. As we left, I commented to the gentleman clearing our table, “I hope you’re not too overworked today.” His reply? “I hope I am.” Clearly our presence was a blessing.
In the moment of totality, I remember feeling giddy and excited. It was an enchanting moment. I jumped up and down. It lasted forever and was incredibly short. And during the nighttime chill, I was in love with everyone and everything. I was sun struck.
As we crawled home in the stunningly horrendous yet respectful traffic, it occurred to me that we, collectively, had been sun struck. Or perhaps, momentarily enlightened?
To me, enlightenment is an experience, not a concept. I believe we all have a light within us; our spark of humanity. When we are sun struck, or enlightened, we are in that energized state where the light within radiates outward to impact everyone around us.
As humans, I feel it is our duty to release our light so that unity can be restored. It manifests as love, as a heart glow, as a feeling of connectedness to each other and to our beautiful planet.
My hope is that our collective light is healing for others and glows even as our world is filled with chaos, violence and instability. I believe as we let our inner lights shine, we increase our connectedness. This is how the persistent problems will be solved.
So, be sun struck and let your light shine. We can make a difference.