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The Great American Solar Eclipse

If you invite them... they will come! Dave and I found ourselves sitting on a restaurant's roof top deck overlooking the riverwalk in Georgetown, SC to watch the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 with friends who recently bought a home nearby.

Our group had carefully mapped out our location for the event, but nature is unpredictable, and the forecast called for "cloud cover." We could have stayed comfortably ensconced on nearby Murrell's Inlet, for 99.85% totality, buy had decided that viewing this eclipse 20 miles away from the path of totality would have been like going to a football stadium to only enjoy the tailgate in the parking lot.

On the drive to Georgetown as we slowly progressed through heavy rain, we were very aware Murphy's Law could find us with a storm cloud overhead at 2:30pm.

Despite the clouds, the sun blazed fiercely and in a typical display of American ingenuity, diners sheltered under golf umbrellas wedged between the tables' patio umbrellas. We shared sunscreen and gave our spare glasses to a little girl and her father who sidled up next to our table carrying eclipse glasses that did not look legit.

We later found out the town of Georgetown had purchased branded eclipse glasses and distributed them from the library, police and fire stations. Their vendor had recalled them only that morning, citing safety concerns from the manufacturer. Our restaurant manager came by, distributing his own branded free viewers to patrons. There was camaraderie, a spirit of sharing an extraordinary experience-- a spirit not much seen in 2017.

We watched the rapid slide of the moon's disc create a rare crescent in the sun's ever-present orb. The restaurant crowd was loud around us, voicing their dismay at the clouds. Incredibly, the wispy cloud covering parted just as totality began.

The light was silvery, the air was still, and birds had stopped flying over the river. The river walk was filled with people who had come to a stop with their eclipse glasses carefully pressed to their faces.

A collective gasp was heard once the silvery corona became visible and people took their special glasses off. The diamond ring was equally breathtaking, all four of us wiped our eyes as we experienced this rare solar phenomena. I forgot to look down for the crescent shadows, so taken was I with the actual sight above me.

The totality lasting 1 min 52 sec was worth every minute of this trip. It made me feel a connection to the universe I had never felt before-- and how infinitesimal we are in the big picture.

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