Shadow Fall

On a Monday morning, not long after rush hour, August 21st, there will be a total eclipse of the sun. The eclipse shadow will traverse the United States, making landfall in Oregon and exiting in South Carolina. [See NASA detailed eclipse maps]. At 10:18 AM landfall from the Pacific Ocean is near Lincoln City, over Salem, the state capital, onto Madras and John Day in Central Oregon, through Ontario on the border with Idaho.

Eclipses typically occur twice each year, a lunar eclipse paired with a solar one, within two weeks of each other. The lunar eclipse of the full moon, paired with the eclipse of the 21st, occurs on August 7th. A solar eclipse occurs when the new moon crosses between the sun and the earth, casting the moon shadow down to earth and revealing the solar corona.

The Oregon Department of Transportation expects up to a million visitors for the eclipse event—adding one-quarter to the existing population of the entire state.  And it will be an event. Camping sites and lodging in the eclipse path have been snapped up by solar tourists. Locals already are advised to prepare for crowded roads and traffic jams once the celestial show is complete, and to plan ahead for gasoline, groceries and gawkers. Crafters are working overtime cranking out commemorative tchotchkes for eclipse visitors to clip on keychains or open beer bottles. It seems the shadow fall will puncture the pre-eclipse carnival and, as the moon wanes across the sun’s face, the tourists will be back on the freeway.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea worked as a Systems Analyst in IT for over 25 years before returning to literature and letters. Kim recently won the Silver Creek Writers Residency/Treefort Wild West Prize for Creative Nonfiction and is a finalist in Proximity Magazine's 2017 Essay Prize competition. Kim attended the Robert D. Clark Honors College and received her BA in English from the University of Oregon. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, where she wrangles her Labrador and scouts for Great Blue Herons.

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