Totality 2024 Part 2

Tara C. Trapani

As we reported last week, several members of the Forum team were in Vermont to experience the totality of the solar eclipse this past Monday. Many flooded into the state from all around to see the big event, but we were lucky to attend a smaller gathering, populated largely by locals (of which I am one!). The day was brilliant, the energy light and hopeful.
Like the many small ones around us, wrapped up in laughter and play, we all had the earnest excitement of a child experiencing something for the first time. Performers interacted playfully with the relaxed crowd, pulling the children into the experience, as they chased giant bubbles that undulated like octopi and balloons that seemed as big as the sun itself. 

At 2:14pm, the first tiny bit of darkness grazed the edge–I shouted out the second I saw it, unable to contain my excitement! Over the next hour and thirteen minutes–as we went from blazing ball, to a bite from a cookie, to a clear, striking crescent–I felt myself becoming more and more still. As the skies dimmed, we were bathed in an ethereal, silvery light and a deep, pregnant silence fell over all. Even the scores of wee ones and their infectious laughter ceased. 

I had no awareness of darkness or fear at the moment of totality. I was overcome with love. Someone jokingly quipped, “it's the end of the world!” And I heard the words “No–it's the beginning,” leave my lips, though I don't know where they came from. 

One of the most beautiful aspects were the red prominences–plasma loops that extend hundreds of thousands of miles out from the sun, like brilliant celebratory streamers. The NASA image above, taken in Texas, shows them at the top, but in Vermont one very large and dramatic one appeared at the bottom left of the orb, amazing us all with its clarity and color. The Bailey's Beads and Diamond Ring effects were very fleeting, but the giant red plume stayed with us throughout the totality.

As the moon began to pull away, revealing the light once again, a lone drummer began to play, soon joined by the many other musicians of the 18 piece Saturn People's Sound Collective. They took the stage and exuberantly welcomed the return of the sun with the cosmic compositions of the Sun Ra Arkestra (see this piece about Sun Ra and the eclipse). 

I held to my intention during those 3 minutes and 16 seconds of totality, as expressed in last week's blog post–sending out to the cosmos the vision of a collectively-enhancing, syntropic, ecological future for our world. But even more than that, I felt a deep and unexpected love for the sun and all the universe well up within me. I am different now than I was before that short window of time. The cosmic event truly felt like a momentous beginning–like the clear air after the rain.
And it felt like a blessing.