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I experienced the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse with my husband from a vantage point of a hill on a snowy golf course at Spruce Peak in Stowe, Vermont. 

I found the 2 minutes and 51 seconds of totality incredibly overwhelming. 

It was surreal, like a dream.

It was like staring at impending death and surviving.


I didn’t feel small like I thought I would. I felt temporary, and witness to something miraculously unlikely. It was without a doubt the most astonishing thing I have ever experienced. 

I could not have predicted the feelings it elicited---I laugh/cried through the whole thing, my hands intensely shaking. To see the moon temporarily transform into a virtual black hole felt terrifyingly primal. In my mind's eye, my memory of the scene drones with infinite void.


Viewing the corona and solar prominences with my naked eyes felt startlingly intimate. To stare at something normally forbidden to the human gaze felt unsettling, but I couldn't look away. I have no idea if the stars came out or not, because my focus was on Sun and Moon and Venus, the stars of our personal planetarium show from a hilltop.


I'm not one for worship, but after this encounter I feel compelled to give proper deference to the Sun as creator and destroyer of life. I bow down to her majesty, and to the Moon's as well.

I couldn’t have dreamed of a better once-in-a-lifetime moment, but we didn’t have a single photo that captured all the components of the scene as I remember it (the vibrant colors, the subtle light, the eclipse itself and its overall scale over the landscape). My husband and I had recorded a few iPhone videos during totality but had not taken still photos of the scene itself.

As an illustrator, I experience the world through images. As a human with a fallible memory, I rely on images to remember my life. I needed to create the ultimate visual cue that captured all the aspects of our particular moment as I remember it feeling.

So I extracted multiple frames from our videos filmed during totality and reassembled and merged them to depict the fuller landscape all in one image. Then I did a bit of painting to the sky, replaced our blown out eclipse ring with a photo of the eclipse as photographed in Stowe by someone with a better setup than us, and tweaked the color and lighting to better reflect how I recall it all looking.

I think this photo/painting/collage/composite is a close approximation of what the experience felt like to me. (I've included a before and after process image for reference).

It’s an art piece, so it's not 100% accurate, but it’s emotionally true and it will help me forever remember that feeling of astounded awe.

While I understand totality chasers, I had such an unexpectedly perfect first time experience that as of right now, I don't have the impulse to seek another.   






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