First of all I am grateful for the chance to experice the 2017 solar eclipse within the path of totality. It was a powerful, heart-pounding spiritual experience and an a milestone life moment. We spend tons of time planning WHERE we would go and WHAT TIME we would arrive there. However, in retrospect there were five things I should have paid more attention to. I hope God allows me to live long enough and I hope God grants me the mobility to experience the 2024 Solar Eclipse. Here are five things lessons learned from 2017 that I would apply to 2024.
1. Arrive early. In 2017, our commute was only 2 hours and we drove in the morning of the eclipse. This provided plenty of time. However, if I had to travel out of state or a substantial distance, I would advise arriving the night prior to the event. We arrived in plenty of time however, a lot of stress could be added trying to arrive by a certain time.
2. Pack a lunch. One horrible error I made was not packing food and water. We had a perfect venue – Cedars of Lebanon State Park – but it was remote. Unprepared, I stood in a food truck line for over an hour. This was precious time I could have spent basking in the moment.
3. Sit back & relax. Remember. This is the eclipse, possibly a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Therefore, minimize distractions and bask in the moment and privilege of being alive to witness it. Grab your most comfortable posture and take it all in. It is indeed a spiritual experience worthy of awe and wonder.
4. At the 2 minute moment of total eclipse–If you are in the Totality Path it’s OK to remove your solar glasses. The biggest lesson I learned was that if you are privileged enough to be viewing within the path of totality, you can actually view the the event without solar glasses during the two-minute moment. I was shackled by paranoia and I kept my glasses on the entire time in 2017; for a few seconds I peeked at the reflection in my car window. I’m glad I saw something, but now I know I could have seen more.
5. Put the camera down. In today’s social media and information age, volumes of people will be archiving the moment. It’s OK if you don’t take the perfect picture or video, because someone else will – probably with a more powerful device. So again, put the camera down and back in the moment – it is indeed a sight to behold and a priceless moment in time.