Saw it with my wife in spectacular Painted Hills Oregon at nearly the exact center of the totality band. It was simply put, the most extraordinary thing I have ever witnessed. In a way it’s quite banal, a thing moving in front of another thing, but it feels incredibly sublime to experience it directly.
I stood on top of a high ridge overlooking a spectacular valley with a view of multicolored ridges and valleys stretching for miles in every direction. In the moments before totality I was watching the hills to the west to see the oncoming shadow. The entire scene was getting darker by the moment, similar to the appearance of an oncoming storm, but without noticeable wind. Within seconds it turned surreal. The farthest hills grew dark and stars appeared above the horizon while the sky above was blue and the the tiny sliver of remaining sun still shined upon us, though not with its usual intensity.
Seconds later the shadow of the umbra swept across the landscape in a headlong rush and I quickly turned to look at the sun which was in lightning transition to a shining ring in a dark purple sky, with stars shining all around it. The few score of watchers with me upon the ridge erupted into delirious joy as we were all overwhelmed at the site. I could immediately see how such a phenomenon could stop battles and bring the primitives to their knees in awe.
We could not have picked a more beautiful site for this eclipse and I will remember it to my dying day as a simply amazing site and feeling that is pretty much unreproducible. Until the next one.
Mexico 2024 or bust!