When we planned our trip down south, we scheduled in order to deliberately avoid the crowds that come with Memorial Day weekend. Unbeknownst to us, a rare eclipse was taking place right in our very own red rock country, bringing thousands of people to see the “ring of fire” wherein the moon covered the sun leaving only a ring of light to be seen.
By the time the eclipse was set to begin, we’d rolled up to Parowan to visit with my grandparents on our way home from Zion National Park. We were half way through our small town, drive-through sandwiches at the Dairy Freeze when the moon started to inch its way past the sun. Ben’s mom had kindly picked up a pair of eclipse viewing glasses for us from the Planetarium before the whole valley sold out (Thanks Kim, we never would have thought of it until it was WAY too late!) so we headed out to the sidewalk to watch the sun and moon align.
Everywhere we went, people were crowded out on the sidewalks staring at the sun. Some had glasses like ours, some were using welding helmets like my grandfather’s, some had homemade pinhole cameras, and some were risking blindness, staring straight into the sun! Who knew an eclipse could cause such a big stir in these tiny southern Utah towns.
Finally, the moon completely covered the sun and for a few brief minutes, we saw the ring of light around the moon for the last time in another couple of decades.
Then, hoping to beat the rush of eclipse viewers, we hopped in the car, high tailing it towards home. We had kittens to get back to!