A moment in time


I remember my first solar eclipse in 1979. I was in the eighth grade. It was in February, and the whole school got to go outside and set up our stations in different parts of the school yard. My class got to go behind the school by the rear of the property that was next to a gravel pit. As we set up, we prepared to watch the eclipse with our two pieces of paper — one with a pin hole; the other just plain to cast the image on. We were mesmerized by the image that was coming through the pinhole. Out in the gravel pit, a few of the crew from the workshop came out wearing their welding goggles. They were gazing up to the sun. We all were sharing that historic moment in time. In my memory, it seemed to last for a long while.

When the media shared the best locations to see this most recent solar eclipse, it seemed like it would be a wonderful road trip to experience the totality of the eclipse — total darkness for a minute or two. We could join the crowds of people traveling to destinations and feel a part of the event. As time got closer, we didn’t confirm any reservations with friends that we know in Missouri, so we canceled our plans.

From what I have heard and seen on social media, it was a grand event throughout all of the places in the path of totality. There was tailgating, people selling shirts and special drinks to celebrate being together. The cities and towns in the path put a lot into the tourism that would be pouring into their communities. Restaurants, gas stations and even grocery stores saw an increase in business, and they prepared for the excitement. The extra work that was put into the experience was well worth all the added effort. The sun and moon really created a spectacular vision.

While not being in the path for totality, we were able to view the eclipse at 90%. It was a beautiful day to be outside. While I was working on projects to get ready for spring tours and finish up our remodeling project, I had two 3- by 5-inch cards in my pocket — one with a pinhole; the other to project the image on.

I watched on and off from 1-3 p.m. Duane brought up the welding helmet, but I wasn’t going to wear that while working. I made sure to take my cards out every 15 minutes or so. When it got to the 90%, it was obvious as it was eerily calm while the shadow of the moon was covering the sun. 

The local schools had the students outside in the afternoon to look up at the sun with glasses. I was able to see a couple of students’ photographs that were posted through their glasses. I could feel their amazement, just as I did as a student 45 years ago. This short time will last in the memories of all that went to the areas of totality but also every person who took a little while out of their day to enjoy this moment in time.

Tina Hinchley, her husband Duane and daughter Anna milk 240 registered Holsteins with robots. They also farm 2,300 acres near Cambridge, Wisconsin. The Hinchleys have been hosting farm tours for over 25 years.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here