Musik City by Tan now floods the corners of my bedroom, muffled by a familiar darkness and sound of the gratuitous Columbus summer thunderstorm. I sit in my bed, hands and wrists still numb from lack of sleep/nutrition, head still reconfiguring sun and moon simulations of the past 24 hours. From the day I found out about the solar eclipse back in May, the preparations for this event took a sharp exponential turn during the last week. Columbus appeared to be entirely sold out of protective eyewear for the event as I bounced around from Midwest Photo Exchange to Lowe's to Half Price Books, Giant Eagle, and the UA Public Library. By the time that I arrived at each location, the glasses had supposedly just sold out. Why was the universe working against me during the time of one of it's greatest displays of power?
Nathan and I took off for Nashville, Tennessee at 8 AM on Sunday morning, making frequent stops at businesses in small towns who were rumored to have eclipse glasses. We asked locals and made phone calls that only added an aspect of comedy to our wild goose chase. (Soon, Dixie Rose would inform us that she has eclipse glasses.) Upon arriving into Nashville, we stopped for late lunch in our favorite hippie-vegan-punk style restaurant that exists in every city. After salads and a discussion of what it means to be an adult, we were on route to Nathan (Snell) and Dixie Rose's new home.
We rang the doorbell and immediately were greeted by literally too many people to remember every single face (cat and dog included). The last group of visitors came through to show NS and DR their controversial Harmony Korine style indie film. After a few hours passed, it was just the four of us (and Eno and Kitty) chit-chatting over G&T's, playing improvised games with thrift store figurines. Tipsy enough to go out, Nathan Ward designated our drive to the honky-tonks on Broadway. We watched country music over fried pickles and observed pre-eclipse strange behavior of birds flying over the river from a rooftop patio. The drunken night ended over my first Game of Thrones experience.
NW was abruptly awoken by me accidentally knocking my clumsy foot into the plug of the air mattress, what he described as a "camp" move. Dixie Rose, being the incredible host that she is, cooked breakfast sandwiches for us to prepare for the big day. By 10 AM, we were on route to our viewing location, swooping up Dixie's BFF Pierrette on the way. About an hour later, we drive around the final unpainted winding local road and climb up a long driveway to a 6-story house, hidden by a forest of bamboo, amongst other trees. We walk through to the back to find a private pool with many other guests. Lony Frank and his wife Jodi hosted this viewing party. They greeted us warmly, offering watermelon and potato salad as well as stories about Lony Frank's missile engineering during the Vietnam War.
As the eclipse began, the sun was high above our heads while our bodies were submerged in the perfectly temperate pool. We watched as the darkness of the moon slowly slid in front of the sun. Anticipation grew as crescent shadows became visible and the temperature between shaded and non-shaded areas became cooler and uniform. The contrast of the world was still highly visible but it was if the brightness level had slowly dragged down.
Totality came suddenly. The world around us turned from a dimmed brightness to a haunting gray-blue. We felt silence as the black circle glowed in the sky and watched a panicked group of birds take flight across the display above us. Venus suddenly became bright and visible, followed by Mercury soon after. Two minutes of disbelief, fear, and awe were spent by some in the pool, floating with ears covered to silence out any remaining noise to amplify the incredulous events before our eyes. As quickly as the darkness grew, even more quickly did it fall. Light returned to us and the birds flew back to where they came from.
The rest of this story is 12-hours of nonsense, anger, hunger, and laughter with Nathan Ward. We did whatever we could to avoid the eclipse traffic, but we had to just go through like everyone else. Nathan feels heavy on my heart, and claimed an even bigger home on it after the eclipse. Totality of the moon in front of the sun will now sit side-by-side with this lover of mine.