It's 6am, August 21, 2017. Waking up after a restless sleep, I stare up to the forest canopy. Heavy fog is enveloping the treetops. Tuning into the radio, I listen to the NPR weather report that suggests clearing fog patches by 9am. The report provides little relief from an underlying sense of anxiety; will we get to see it!? For the past few days I've taken ferries, crossed borders, endured traffic, eaten really bad road food, and ultimately driven over 1000km to here. Where's here? A forest preserve outside of the coastal town of Otis, OR.
Nothing, in particular, stands out about Otis. In fact, 99% of the time you'd probably drive right on past it. Not today, though. Today, Otis sits almost directly on the solar eclipse's Path of Totality. What is the Path of Totality and why should I care, you ask? Essentially, when the moon moves right in front of the sun, covering it completely for a very short time, for those located in this narrow strip of land (about 70 miles / 110km wide) the entire sky will darken. For 2-3 minutes you'll be able to look directly at the sun (note: you can do this only when the sun is completely covered by the moon, otherwise solar glasses / eclipse glasses must be worn) where you'll see the corona, an exquisite sight that's only visible during a total solar eclipse. During totality, the stars come out, the horizon glows with a 360-degree sunset, the temperature drops, and day turns into night. As one scientist described, "It's one of the most beautiful things you can ever see on earth. And if you don't get to experience it, it's kind of like going through life without falling in love."
Thankfully the clouds did clear off that morning, and while I'll let you debate the merits of the love analogy, what I experienced on the morning of August 21st was something I'll never ever ever forget.