Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Eclipse 2024

 [This is a transcript of a handwritten document.]

A minute or so after the moon completely obscured the sun I heard the Spring Peepers singing. I had been told to listen for birdsong or crickets, but I hadn't expected frogs. There had been a lot of hype about birds' evening song, night song, and morning song, but I don't know much more about birds than they have beaks and feathers and some of them taste great with sweet & sour sauce. Spring Peepers, however, were my friends growing up. I knew their song. I heard it again for the first time in at least a decade on the afternoon of April Eighth.

The eclipse was really fucking cool. I was a little skeptical of the hype, but pleasantly surprised by how everything turned out. My highlights, in addition to hearing the Spring Peepers singing were: the 360 degree sunset, how impressively bright it was when the sun returned, looking at the solar flare through my brother's telescope, and the general fun of being with friends & family. I'm glad I made the trip.

The trip! We're 1/3 through this trip report and there hasn't been any traveling yet. That being said, if you were hoping for an exciting tale of Simon's travels, prepare yourself for disappointment - this won't even be about my trip, but rather my mom's!

I took the train across Pennsylvania and linked up with my mom in Pittsburgh. We then drove to Vermillion, Ohio (more or less) to where my brother and sister-in-law live. Being in the path of totality, they hosted a big eclipse party complete with themed snacks - moon pies, cosmic brownies, and the like. Mom & I painted little eclipses on our fingernails. It was a fun time!

That night (at one am) mom & I hopped on the Capitol Limited to DC and eventually made our way to Philadelphia. This was the first inkling that mom had bad travel luck. My travel story ends here - I was out of town for four days and had to get back to work. Mom, however, stayed with me until the 19th.

Her story, if she were to tell it, would be about train trips and a mad dash with a red cap, a Phillies game and leisurely conversations with friends sitting in front of my house, the Barnes Museum for impressionists and the various expressions of friendship at trivia night or in the APS Museum or in my house at my dinner table. With that being said, some of her story would have to cover the travel itself: she didn't have a full charge on her car when she picked me up so we were (heh) squeezed for juice as we traveled across Ohio; Amtrak had a signal issue so it took us three hours to get from Wilmington to Philly (normally a half hour); the Phillies and the Sixers let out at the same time so owe were stuck waiting for a rideshare for an hour after the game; when she got home (courtesy of a cousin making the drive anyway) her garage door keypad malfunctioned and she & my brother had to rendezvous at a halfway point so she could get the garage door opener - adding a couple extra hour to her ride's obligation.

I think she had a fun time though - it was nice to see her for an extended period of time and I know she enjoyed leaving Ohio for a couple weeks. I don't know if she's going to brave an overnight train trip again (sleeper car or no sleeper car), but I hope she got a kick out of the experience. I'm so glad my friends got to meet her and I'm glad she got to meet so many of my friends.

Finally, I want to underscore that the eclipse was so fuckin' cool - I'm glad I got to see it and I'm especially glad I got to see it with my mom.