Eclipse Over Cleveland: A Moment of Cosmic Wonder Raising the Barr Weekly Memo: Issue 586

The eclipse has come and gone in almost a blink of an eye, but more accurately, in 3 minutes and 13 seconds. And if you know me, you know that I’m usually “all in” on any project and most certainly on one that is a once in a lifetime for me and my Fujifilm XT5 camera.

I’ll admit that I was preparing for weeks for the eclipse with special lenses, tripods, and a special solar filter along with my futuristic, cool protective shades suitable for wear on the Jetsons’ space vehicle. Laurel, on the other hand, didn’t buy into the hype of it all, didn’t understand all my fuss, and wasn’t sure if she should even change her schedule to accommodate this supernatural lunar event to be seen publicly in those silly glasses.

And then it all changed.

As I packed up the car with my gear under crystal clear skies as the April Cleveland temps were soaring into the seventies, we saw our neighbors lining the streets, walking their dogs, introducing guests that had come from out of town to witness this incredible moment. Laurel chatted with some of them who said they were having a watch party on their driveway.

So, tempted and a little more intrigued, Laurel agreed to join me as we drove to the high school football and track field to set up shop. When we arrived nearly two hours prior to the eclipse, throngs of fascinated eclipse watchers slowly joined the masses which in the end, totaled over 2,000.

Children were playing on the inflatable houses and climbing areas. Pickleball players were dinking on the sidelines and the DJ was pumping up the jam with songs relating to the sun and moon. There were lots of oldies mixed in with newer rock numbers, all of which heightened the excitement.

As the crescent began to appear, the crowd was wild with excitement and as the minutes ticked by and we neared totality, the silence became palpable. Now, in complete darkness, streetlights came on, and birds chirped in the silence, as I noticed Laurel clapping and having removed her protective glasses, teary eyed and her lips moving in prayer upon seeing natural wonders in nature.

As those 3 minutes of darkness ticked by, and as the temperature plummeted by at least 10 degrees, she joined others clapping in a great crescendo as we both witnessed a true miracle in the now cool and crisp afternoon air.

My camera clicked away, the darkness slowly began to dissipate, and I witnessed the sheer emotion that was overtaking so many of us there. As the sun slowly reappeared, people returned to dancing, singing, playing kickball and pickleball as if it was just another day.

This experience reminded me of the moments in our lives and businesses that the most significant changes often come from the most surprising places. This moment of totality, where day turned to night, symbolizes the potential for aww-inspiring outcomes when we open our hearts and minds to new experiences and perspectives.

I will never forget the awesome, moving, and spiritual moment we witnessed together and Laurel’s first words to me after it was all over were, “can we go to Spain in 2026 to see the next total eclipse?” I guess seeing really is believing.

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