It’s weird how Monday’s eclipse caught me by surprise.

I knew it was coming, don’t get me wrong. I’m sure I heard about it for the first time pretty early in the year. I think, though, when I saw that it would occur during the school day, and thus there wasn’t anything special I could do with the girls for it, I semi-dismissed it. I also read that you need to be careful when photographing an eclipse so that you don’t melt your camera’s sensor. I wasn’t interested in buying a couple hundred bucks of filters to take pictures safely so there was no need to get excited about that angle of the day.

So Monday I turned the TV on and watched some of the coverage as I did things around the house. It was cloudy here in the morning, but the forecast promised a chance of clearing around eclipse time. Sure enough, about an hour before the moon first got in our path to the sun, the clouds moved off and it was bright, hot, and humid.

The contractor doing our bathroom threw me a pair of eclipse glasses, which I failed to get before they became impossible to find, and suddenly I was pretty excited. I stepped outside a few times and took a peek. There it was, a sun showing progressively less of itself as the moon slid across my view of it. Maximum coverage here was set for 2:25. At about 2:20 a huge cloud drifted in from the west and completely covered the sun. There were a couple brief moments when the sun popped through holes. But by 2:30, a heavy deck of low clouds moved in and that was pretty much it for us. Within 90 minutes it was raining.

I was hoping to get some pictures of the cool eclipse shadows under trees, but there wasn’t enough light for even that. I attempted to just shoot the clouds opposite the eclipse, to get a sense of that odd, in-between lighting. But that light was just too weird for my camera. Even playing around with the white balance and exposure settings in Lightroom doesn’t salvage them. I probably should have read up more on camera settings for eclipse lighting!

It wasn’t exactly the ideal eclipse experience for us. The girls got to watch on TV at school. The older girls made eclipse viewers, but it was pretty cloudy there as well and they didn’t get great views either. Knock on wood we have better luck in eight years, when a total eclipse will go directly over Indy. No fighting traffic to get to the boonies to watch!

What I thought was cool about the whole thing was this rush of excitement of people who were seeing it. At first, it seems kind of silly to be cheering when the sun disappears, as many large groups that were shown on TV did. But when you consider this was a spontaneous reaction to the moment, that silliness goes away. Saturday evening I popped into a liquor store and overheard an older woman who said she was from New York and driving out to the path of totality. I thought that was cool, too. Why not, you know?

The eclipse didn’t have anything to do with our political situation, with the economy, with our relationship with Russia or North Korea or Mexico or the Middle East, with the sports teams we love or hate, or anything else that causes our blood pressure to rise.

The eclipse just was.

And for a few minutes, we could all chill out and not worry about whatever shit each of us worries about each day.