22 Aug

I had intended to write a post about how I sat, eclipse glasses on, knitting  my 2018 Back-to-School socks with my eclipse yarn, during yesterday’s eclipse.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

I started planning weeks ago. I bought my eclipse glasses on the way home from Bend in the first week of August. I tested them Sunday, just to understand what I would see.

I preordered my “Total Eclipse of the Sun” yarn, picked it up on Saturday and cast on my 2018 Back-to-School socks Monday night. I wanted to be ready.



Yesterday, I made sure Lucy took a potty break just before 9 a.m.  Her tummy has been a little off and I didn’t want  any accidents (cosmic or biological proportions) while the eclipse was going on.

A little after 9, I heard on the radio that the event was beginning. I donned my glasses, opened my front door  and took a look. A  nibble appeared on the sun’s upper right edge. I felt more excited than I thought I’d be. No one else was out and we still had at least an hour before we made it to the 99.2% eclipse we were expecting in Portland. I had joked earlier in the day that we were in the Path of Totalitish.  I puttered happily in the house, then decided to pop my head out again. And that is when my glasses slipped.

It was a mere, momentary flash in my right eye, but that was enough. I quickly entered the house and tested my vision. I was OK, but when my eyes were closed, I could see the residual image of the eclipsing sun. I had heard on the radio that such an accident probably wouldn’t cause blindness, but I was spooked. I stayed in the house for a while testing my eye, relieved that, within about 20 minutes, the residual image had disappeared. But I was done with my ill-fitting glasses.

I heard my neighbors setting up in the courtyard popped my hatted head out the door again, facing away from the sun. They had eclipse glasses and pinholed paper plates.

I had found these directions on-line earlier in the day and sent them to my brother-in-law who had no glasses. He had made one, tested it and said it worked, so I knew I could be safe and experience the eclipse.

download 7.20.16 AM


I had a box I’d been planing to use to for the classroom books I’d collected over the summer.  I grabbed it and got to work.

I almost gave up when I realized I had used up the last of my tape that morning on a package I planned to mail today. Of course, I could find no glue. Fortunately, I have a “can do” attitude and found some stickers I could use as tape.

I made sure the foil was well secured.


Then I attached the paper that would capture the image,


Voilà! I felt safe to join my neighbors.


Feeling more confident, I had a great time in the courtyard with my neighbors, who were also a little skittish about blinding themselves.  They mostly used their pinhole devices, but, from time to time they put on their glasses and quickly turned to look at the eclipsing sun, then back again. We laughed at how much more excited we were than we’d expected to be.

We noted the darkening world, the dropping temperatures, the strange color of the light as the moon moved across the sun. When we got to the point that was as close to 99.2% as we were getting,  the light seemed almost orange and we noticed strange patterns that I later learned were called shadow bands. It was fun to go into the street and, back to the sun, and doff my box to see all the people who were home and excited by the eclipse.

“The sun is still frowning,” my neighbor James commented.

“It was a smile inside my box,” I joked, realizing the pin-hole camera had given me a reversed image. My near disaster had turned into a community event. Everyone was amazed.

When the process started reversing itself,  I donned my box once more and saw that the smile was getting bigger. People started slipping back in to their homes and, before too long, the sun was fully back in the sky. I brought my box back into my house, and set it back near the stack of books I will take in to school later this week.









7 Responses to “Post-apoc-eclips-ish”

  1. medunn80 August 22, 2017 at 6:07 am #

    Thank you for sharing your eclipse experience!! We here in Maine didn’t get all that you did but it was still exciting. Love your eclipse yarn and your tinkering to get your viewing box going. How fun!! Science rocks!

  2. arjeha August 22, 2017 at 7:18 am #

    Here in PA we only saw about 72% coverage. I was more concerned about the cats so we mostly stayed in the basement. I did watch coverage on the news, not the same, but still impressive. Glad that Plan B worked well for you.

  3. Lisa Corbett August 22, 2017 at 7:29 am #

    Thanks for sharing. We were not even in the path of “total-ish” eclipse. The sky changed a bit. I was with a group of friends and we all agreed to not mention it to the kids so none of them would try to look. 🙂

  4. barbara suter August 22, 2017 at 8:09 am #

    LOVED your post today, especially the humor. You must share this post with your students who will completely “get it” and love you for it. I was on the beach with my daughter here on Long Island (NY), and we had a pinhole arrangement that was so pathetic it made us laugh all day. Finally, as the peak of the eclipse was happening, a friendly guy on a blanket near us shared his eclipse glasses with us and we got to take a momentary glimpse at “the real thing.” I loved how the eclipse brought everyone together across the US, doing hokey, fun things that adults usually don’t do.

  5. mukhamani August 22, 2017 at 8:12 am #

    Thank you for sharing, it was like being there 🙂

  6. Fran Haley August 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    I was scared for your eyes! Grateful no damage was done. We got 93% coverage here in central NC and I remain astonished at how much light there is with 7% sun. It dimmed a little, like late afternoon. We had the glasses and could see how only a “fingernail” of sun remained. And I love your title – too clever!

  7. Brian Rozinsky August 22, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

    So many fun twists and DIY projects on your eclipse day. I enjoyed how you captured the quirks of an event observed by so many!

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