I took my kids out of school today so we could head south to see the total solar eclipse. We were only about a 2-hour drive from the path of totality. We were lucky; for the most part, traffic was light and quick and we made it to West Frankfort, Illinois with five minutes to spare. We pulled into a gas station and had some fun seeing the crescent sun shining through the grid we made with our fingers.
Then we donned our eclipse glasses and watched as the tiny crescent got smaller and smaller. When it disappeared, we removed our glasses.
I've heard a total eclipse and people's reactions to it described different ways. For us, there was no screaming or crying just a feeling of awe. The darkened sky had a hint of yellowish green, kind of like a pending tornado but without the storm. A bright star appeared and there was a smaller star (planet?) lower in the sky that flashed and twinkled. Clouds hung low in the sky across the horizon and they took on a slightly pinkish hue, almost like a subtle sunset. The cicadas were buzzing loudly like they do in the evening. And the moon, looking more like a black hole, was surrounded with a bright white light. Yes, it was awesome.
The whole thing lasted less than 2 minutes and then the sun peeked out again as the moon slowly slid away. We were back on the road within 15 minutes of our arrival for the 2-hour drive home.
Four hours of driving for a 2 minute experience. Was it worth it? Yes, we all agreed it definitely was. Given the chance, we'd do it again. It's something we won't soon forget.