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An Eclipsing Illusion

The past few weeks have been rather interesting, to say the least. I live in north Texas, near the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, and a major event was about to unfold. On April 8, 2024, my town would experience totality during a solar eclipse. At first I was intrigued. My neighborhood would go completely dark for about four minutes. It would be like midnight in the middle of the day. And I could see it all from from the comfort of my own home. How cool was that?

We learned more as the weeks went by, and the news wasn’t so good. Millions of people were expected to converge on our state. We were expecting two to three times more visitors than locals in our town. This meant traffic could potentially come to a standstill on gridlocked roads. We were also concerned about empty grocery shelves and gas stations running ot of gas. I live in a quiet residential neighborhood, away from the main traffic corridors. However, with the possibility of tens of thousands of people showing up, anything could happen. 

My father always taught me to expect the best but prepare for the worst, so I was grateful to have enough time to plan ahead. I made sure my pantry was well stocked, and I filled my tank a few days before the eclipse. In the meantime, a good friend sent me a pair of eclipse glasses. I would definitely need those. As the time drew nearer, we got new information about the totality line. My neighborhood wouldn’t go completely dark after all. The totally line was now about a quarter mile away. We would be getting a partial eclipse instead. No doubt it would be a doozy. 

As many of you know, I enjoy photography when I’m not writing contemporary romance novels, and I could expect some interesting lighting during the eclipse. However, if I wanted to photograph the actual eclipse itself, I would need to buy a special lens filter, and they weren’t exactly cheap. So, I decided to leave it up to the pros, like NASA. I would instead photograph what I was seeing on the ground. Lucky for me, there’s a little neighborhood park directly across the street from my house. All I needed to do was charge my camera batteries. The weather, however, would be another issue.

April is the rainiest month of the year in north Texas, and as the time drew near, the forecast called for cloudy skies. As a result, far fewer people than expected showed up, so we weren’t overrun with visitors. Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be able to see the eclipse either. It would still go dark, but whether or not I could take any photos remained to be seen. We were told to expect high, thin, overcast skies. The clouds would thicken throughout the day, and the moon would pass overhead at approximately 1:40 pm. I decided to proceed with my plans anyway. It would be far better to have my camera ready and not be able to use it, then the other way around.

In the end, luck was on our side. The day was partly cloudy, but not overcast. A half hour before totality I grabbed my tripod and opened my garage door, only to discover my neighbors had invited friends over. They were having an eclipse party, and everyone had a good time. I set up my big camera on the tripod and shot a video as the eclipse unfolded. We didn’t go totally dark, but we had a few seconds when it was sort of like dusk. I also snapped a nice photo of the strange lighting. It was quite surreal, and we all wished it could have lasted longer. However, the best part of the whole experience was spending a little quality time with the neighbors. 

Marina Martindale aka Gayle Martin



Marina’s Journal is written, edited, and maintained by a real human being. It does not include content generated by AI (Artificial Intelligence) software of any kind. No part of this blog may be used or reproduced or transmitted in any form, or used in any matter by AI, without the express written consent Good Oak Press, LLC. Requests for permission must be addressed to Good Oak Press, LLC, P.O. Box 51244, Denton, TX 76206-1244



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