We live in the North Nashville area of Tennessee, just minutes from Gallatin, TN which has been hailed as one of the best places to view the total solar eclipse. In our area we are told to expect over two minutes of totality. Side note… using the word totality is so dramatic, and it makes me laugh. This has of course caused a lot of excitement and party planning. Schools have closed, t-shirts have been made, people are renting out their houses to visitors coming from places as far away as Japan and apparently we need to get gas in the next 5 minutes because it’s totally going to run out. Oh… and groceries… we have to go get those as well because ALL THE FOOD WILL BE GONE.
At first this total eclipse business really sounded fun. Order glasses on amazon.com, find your party spot for the viewing and take the day off school. And then Facebook exploded. I’ve read countless stories of folks who have gone blind from starring at eclipses. And on top of that the glasses that everyone ordered on amazon are evidently all fakes and not “nasa approved.”
So let me recap this. There is an amazing eclipse coming, we will get to experience totality, it’s once in a lifetime, we get a day off school… but there will be no gas or groceries, traffic will be intense, we don’t have the right glasses and we now have to manage impulsive young kids who might accidentally look at the sun during the eclipse and blind themselves. <insert the wide-eyed emoji here>
The last eclipse excitement I can truly recall was in 1st grade. I lived in Michigan. I don’t think I discussed the eclipse with my parents, but I did go to school. It was fun and a bit exciting but we didn’t have themed snacks. We simply helped our teacher cover the windows with tin foil. I don’t know why and I don’t remember much else about it. But we weren’t afraid, or stressed.
After pondering how social media has intensified the total eclipse frenzy I hopped on the laptop to do a bit of googling to see how others have and/or are planning to view the eclipse safely. Here’s what I found.
Strategy 1: Find a furry friend and wing it with the amazon glasses
that may or may not be NASA approved.
Strategy 2: Require your kids/students to wear boxes
over their heads and take your chances by looking at the sun directly,
with only your reading glasses to protect your eyes.
Strategy 3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
(thank you Pinterest)
Strategy 4: Light one up and roll with the free glasses from the library.
No worries, no problems.
Our family is going with a mix of strategies and will be gathering with a small group of people to enjoy our two minutes of totality. I hope my kids remain safe, deep breaths, and I’ll take some steps to achieve that but I’m also not going to freak out. Above all, I’m hopeful that we make memories as a family… the day we got a day off school and saw the sun slip behind the moon for 2 glorious minutes.