May MFM News – A Sampling

Experiencing the Eclipse

Many Memphis Friends traveled over the Mississippi River to Arkansas to view the eclipse while others stayed in Memphis. 

Debbie writes, “My husband, one of my friends, and I went to Pocahontas, AR, northwest of Jonesboro. We had a scenic site on the Black River to sit, eat a picnic lunch and enjoy the wait. It was truly amazing. I was really surprised at how dark the whole sky was at totality.” 

Robert saw the eclipse at his cabin west of Batesville. He writes, “Experiencing the total eclipse & standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon define the word ‘awe’ – both have been deeply spiritual for me. The day before the eclipse, I met numerous hikers on an Ozark trail including Mennonites from Pennsylvania, a science teacher from Toronto, two couples from Minnesota, an Alabama family, and many others. All had hoped that there wouldn’t be cloud cover, and were delighted when there wasn’t any. I celebrate that so many traveled so far to have an awesome experience like this.” 

Mellissa and James went to Lake Charles State Park near Jonesboro. She writes, “We left the house at 6:00 a.m. and when we got there people were just starting to arrive but soon an open field was full of telescopes and cameras on tripods. Just as we did in 2017 in Pennyrile State Park in Kentucky, it was easy be off on our own on the edge of things but also be a part of a collective primordial roar. When I look back on this beautiful day, I will think about how lucky I am to have seen two total solar eclipses in my lifetime, and perhaps even a third in 2045 when I’m 79. Fingers crossed.”

David C. writes, “Seven of us including Libby and Rodney gathered on a field near our cabin in the Ozarks. We were lucky it turned out to be sunny and warm and one friend brought a large telescope and a special eclipse lens. It’s hard to say what was more exciting — to have the telescope to see the details on the sun as the moon covered it or the four minutes of darkness at totality. It was a day to remember.”

Juli watched the not-quite-total eclipse in Memphis from her front porch sharing her eclipse glasses with the mail carrier and the lawn care worker.

Susan writes, “We stayed in Memphis. Our son Jesse came over to our backyard for lunch and viewing of the partial eclipse. We enjoyed feeling the temperature change, the yellowing of the yard, the movie-set aura, and the intensity of bird calls. The weirdest thing was seeing our back porch get dark while there was full sun in the backyard. The 4th and 5th graders from granddaughter Marie’s school took a charter bus to Jonesboro and had a great experience in the Totality.”

Mallory writes, “I went over to my daughter’s school to watch the eclipse with her and her class. What a joy! A bunch of toddlers putting their glasses to their faces for two seconds and immediately chasing each other around spoke to their important work of play while the older kids
attended to their important work of wonder. For some brief moments, despite all our differences of experience, we all looked up. There’s a beautiful spiritual reflection in that.” 

Shahin writes, “Adrian and I drove to the ASU campus in Jonesboro. When we arrived, Joanne, Kelly, and Vivian were there with Jackie Murray and other friends. Joanne had set up a booth for the
University of Memphis Department of Physics and staff from the Memphis Pink Palace Museum/MoSH brought solar-filtered telescopes. Correspondents from a local CBS/Fox affiliate interviewed a bunch of folks including us. Just seconds before totality, Adrian’s mom and dad joined us. Afterwards we stayed and had a picnic while we got our bearings. Traffic was okay on the way up but a 5-hour stop-and-go ordeal getting home. Still, the whole experience was exceptional and truly awesome.”

Ann writes, “we went to a friend’s farm in Batesville AR. The eclipse was moving, almost holy, and a little scary like being in a dream. As everything dimmed it felt like things were out of control. We’re
used to sunsets being on one side of the sky, but this one surrounded us, while the sun was a blacked-out corona. After too brief a time, the lights came on again like someone moving a dimmer switch. It felt like time became unmoored.”

Denny writes, “My Dad was very excited to visit and watch the eclipse with us. We went to a park in Evening Shade AR. I was glad to be where it wasn’t super crowded to see the sun change shape.
At totality everyone got quiet and my Dad pointed out Jupiter and Venus. The shadows changed; it
wasn’t fully dark but the street lights came on. It was awe-inspiring and unforgettable.”