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Earlier this week, I was fortunate to be in the path of a total solar eclipse.  It was, of course, the one that cut a line through the United States, starting in Texas and ending somewhere in the Northeast.  As you may know, I live in Central Texas, so I got about three minutes of totality, give or take.

It was an amazing, and slightly terrifying, experience.

It starts with the sun just getting dimmer and dimmer.  It’s still sunny outside, but the light levels start to look like it’s cloudy.  Everything’s just permeated by an air of wrongness.  And then…  the sun goes out.

It’s not an instant process, but when it happens, it’s very quick.  One minute there’s sun, the next minute you can still see the sun but it’s very faint, like it’s one of those sodium streetlights, and you can even see the shadows of the clouds as they race by.  Then… nothing.

It’s dark.  It’s dark like a moonlit night, but if you look up, the moon has this huge hole in it.  It’s like night, but it’s a wrong night.  And for three minutes, it’s very much like it’s midnight.  And it’s worse when the clouds are racing over the sun, it looks like one of those moonlit nights in a horror film.

And then it ends.  And after an hour, it’s like nothing at all happened.

I’m not going to lie.  It kind of messed me up mentally.  It’s like there’s this big thing that’s happening and you have no control over it.  The sun went out.  And when the sun comes back, you just don’t look at the world quite the same ever again.

That was the first eclipse I’ve seen in my life.  It’s very likely it will be the last.  And as much as I’m glad I got to see at least one… I’m not sure I actually want to see another one.  They’re disturbing, in a way I can’t quite describe.  The best word I have is “liminal”.  And I guess that’ll have to do.

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