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Perceiving the World in a Solar Eclipse

After months of planning, and hauling my family up to Tennessee, I had made it to that moment. There was food, music, and even yoga. A whole small town community, transformed into a tourist destination for a day, all to accommodate others all for one of astronomy’s greatest opportunities; a total solar eclipse. The volunteers worked selflessly to keep the crowds entertained, hydrated, and embodied the idea of southern hospitality. People of largely varying ages wore their paper glasses with pride, and there was no doubting in the brightness of night in the middle of day.

On August 21st, at approximately 13:27, Gallatin Tennessee gathered people from over 39 nations to view the total solar eclipse. I genuinely lack a pace of thought that could fit into an outline of words. There are things you may consider amazing based on the perception of the human eye, but you may also consider these things amazing based on the perception of the human soul. Scientifically, it was a true thing of beauty. Emotionally, I don’t think I can say I’ve ever experienced a lack of explanation mixed with a rush of excitement simultaneously.

It’s not just the idea of seeing something only a few will see within their lifetime, or living up to the moment that many people have been raving about for months and even years in advance… It’s within knowing that there’s a group of almost 100 Japanese tourists that traveled just to see the eclipse setting up their telescopes in the baseball field across from me. It’s hearing the uniquely thick accent of the British lady who kindly asked if I could take a photo for her. It’s seeing a world map with pins, and knowing that those pins represent a place that someone has come from to get to where they are that day. The idea of being able to experience the world all at once, simply by gathering to experience something literally out of this world is something that I can only aspire to consume more of within my life. So yes, the sky was beautiful, I love all the photographs I took and the views I was able to see. But in Gallatin, Tennessee on August 21st, there was also a social atmosphere that’s simply out of this world.


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