We Witnessed A Partial Eclipse

As the twilight sun gave way to an eerie midday darkness, Amelia and I stood in the fields of our Vermont farm, our eyes turned skyward. The day had been marked on our calendar with anticipation: an astronomical event promised a full eclipse, a rare alignment that would shroud our world in an otherworldly twilight.

But nature, in her unpredictable artistry, scripted a different spectacle. Instead of the complete darkness we expected, we witnessed a partial eclipse. The moon nibbled at the sun’s edge, crafting a crescent of light that seemed too mystical to belong to our everyday sky.

The light that filtered through this celestial interplay was unlike any other. It was not the golden warmth of a sunset nor the bright clarity of noonday; it was a silver-gray illumination that transformed our familiar farm into a landscape from a dream. The rolling hills, usually so lush and vibrant, appeared muted like silhouettes in dreams, as if dusted by the brush of an impressionist painter.

In those moments, as Amelia and I watched this display of celestial bodies, our farm—a place so deeply rooted into our daily lives—felt like a new discovery. The usual sounds of rustling leaves and distant animal calls were hushed, replaced by a serene silence that seemed to blanket the world in reverence for the spectacle above.

This unexpected experience, this partial eclipse, became a profound reminder of the beauty and mystery that can lie in unmet expectations. It wasn’t the full eclipse we had anticipated, but perhaps it was something more special, a reminder that even a sliver of the extraordinary can cast a new light on the familiar, revealing nuances and beauty we might otherwise overlook.

As the moon slowly relinquished its hold on the sun, and normalcy returned to our patch of earth, Amelia and I felt a renewed connection to our farm. The light returned to its usual brightness, but our perception of the place we call home had changed, subtly but indelibly, colored by the memory of the day the sun, moon, and earth played their silent music above our heads.

April 8, 2024


  • Christopher

    That was a wonderful description, and I really like that it made the familiar unfamiliar but also brought you closer to it. I was also under a partial eclipse and it was remarkable how the light changed but even a sliver of sun was so bright.

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you for your comment, Christopher. Experiencing the eclipse, even though it was a bit of a disappointment at the time, was an illuminating moment for me. As I stood under the muted sky, watching how even a mere sliver of sun could bathe the world in light, I found myself contemplating my journey through life. It made me wonder how I managed to navigate through the myriad challenges, against the formidable odds that seemed stacked against me.

      In other words, every now and then, I ask myself how in the actual fuck did I make it?

  • Jeff Cann

    We had 92% eclipse where I live. I love how thin the light gets, like so much of it’s density is stripped away and we get a weightless ghost version of day. My daughter said Burlington was pandemonium, with hundreds of tour busses dropping their load at the lake front park and driving away. I have no idea how all those people found their way home.

    • Thomas Slatin

      My wife and I are the proud owners of a serene, retired dairy farm nestled in the picturesque town of Middletown Springs, Vermont. Our quaint locale was anticipated to offer a magnificent view of the eclipse, boasting a nearly total coverage at 98.5%. Our remote setting gifts us with a nightly canvas of stars, unfettered by city lights. Yet, as fate would have it, a sudden sweep of clouds obscured our view of the eclipse. Nonetheless, the simplicity of stepping into our field to witness this celestial event, without any cost, softened the disappointment. This was my third eclipse encounter, and each one has been a poignant reminder to momentarily step away from the everyday and immerse in the cosmic spectacle. Your reflections are much appreciated, Jeff! 🙂

  • Chuck Miller

    Whether you see one eclipse or ten, the experience changes you instantly. It makes you more aware of where we are in the universe, it makes you understand the intersection of nature and faith in one cosmic dance. I’m glad you both had a chance to experience this event. It was spectacular.

  • mydangblog

    Much more beautifully written than my own post about it–you’re always so eloquent! We had totality where we were and yes, the sudden plunge into darkness was breathtaking!

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Suzanne! I’ve always written in this eloquent tone, which, interestingly enough, often left my teachers in the American educational system rather frustrated. They seemed irritated by my style as it didn’t fit neatly into the industrialized mold of Western education. Yet, here I am, continuing to embrace my unique voice for the enjoyment of those who choose to read my blog and books.

      The sudden plunge into darkness you and I experienced is truly breathtaking—such moments really stir the soul, don’t they? 🙂

  • Anne Sandler

    Beautiful narrative and images, Thomas. Nature has a way of putting us in our place. We enjoyed seeing the 2017 total eclipse in Idaho. I will never forget that event. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any sign of it here in Northern California.

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you, Anne. The 2024 eclipse marks the third one I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. My first experience was in eighth grade, and I saw the second one in 2017, both viewed from New York.

      Eclipses, by their very nature, are a celestial phenomenon, a rare convergence in the cosmos, that highlight our own minuteness in the vast universe. They offer a magical experience, compelling us to pause, reflect, and marvel at the profound mysteries that surround our existence. 🙂

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