Chad’s Great American Eclipse Chase: Part 11—Returning home, and recalling

This series details the eclipse-chasing exploits of our President and CEO, Chad Dorsey, as he heads down to Tennessee on a quest for the total solar eclipse. See the whole series.

The final leg of the trip is here at last. Beginning the last push back from Scranton, it seems we can feel life already drifting downward, returning to the quotidian from its brief perch among the cosmic reaches of the Sun and Moon’s conjunction. We can’t help but remember the moments over again, though. Transient as it may be, totality sticks with you, and we recall once more the rush of excitement as the shadow swept across and the mysterious beauty shone out. This video of our reactions as totality began—and receded far too quickly—captures the ebullience and awe in a way that no words ever could:

Yes – it’s really that exciting—for anyone and everyone.

So, as we find our eclipse reunion attendees once again scattering to the winds and find ourselves now driving along familiar roads toward home, we can’t help but smile inwardly ever so slightly.

Group pic eclipse chasers
Our eclipse-chasing group takes one last reunion pic before heading our separate ways…until the next one!

Because even as friendships fall back into comfortable step and familiar surroundings rise up to greet us, waiting and unchanged, we know that we may be back among it all, but are simply not quite the same ourselves. Once you’ve experienced a total solar eclipse, you’ve gained a new perspective on the universe, a more humble take on humanity, and a renewed sense of connection to both. Though it always sounds sappy, the truth is that feelings of such depth are common and understood among eclipse watchers. Another thing that is shared? The impulse to do as our group did immediately after this eclipse ended—pull out the maps and charts and study the slate of upcoming eclipses around the world. Where next? A cruise ship off Chile in 2019? A visit to the plains of Patagonia in 2020? And of course the Great American eclipse redux in 2024, for which we’re already studying locations and weather maps…

Recognizing that it’s almost futile to try to bring the essence across, I urge you instead to check out this great piece from Vox, especially the video linked below. These interviews of some of the world’s top eclipse chasers represent an attempt to capture some portion of the ineffable something that drives them all forward. Better than any others I’ve found, their words capture the sense of why we all headed on the road this August 2017—and why anyone who made it successfully to totality this week can’t help but dream of their next opportunity to stand under the shadow of the moon.

VOX eclipse chasing piece background image