Today is the solar eclipse that has had all of Portland in a tizzy for weeks. Some people have planned trips out of town to see the eclipse while others have canceled travel because they are worried about traffic from other people’s travel. Hotel rooms and rental cars are booked, food trucks plan to close for the hour of the eclipse and then do extra business afterwards.
Grandpa Nelson, Auntie Bridgett and I are going to Laurelhurst Park, sit in the small forest there, and listen to what the animals do. Will the hawks go hunting? Will the squirrels freak out? Will we finally get to see the owl?
I wrote that part before the eclipse.
It is now after. Here is what happened.
When we got to the park, there were already some people sitting in the big grassy area. They were reading, talking, or playing with their kids, but as we have often seen here, not being obnoxiously loud. Each group respected the other group’s space and quiet.
As the eclipse began and increased, the light changed. The white sunlight got yellower, then almost grey, and it made things look flatter. The temperature dropped a bit and a small breeze came up.
At almost 99% totality, (as much as we got here in Portland) we saw things called shadow snakes …shadows of the leaves overhead, but looking curvy. These happen because the light of the sun is bent as it comes around the moon and so makes curvy shadows. Weird and wonderful.
We also saw cloudy shadows moving across the pavement. They were so faint I couldn’t get a picture of them. I found out later they are called Schlieren lines.
After just a half minute of not-darkness, the light began to increase again. The eclipse was ending and we would soon be back to regular light.
It never got dark enough for the animals to think it was night, so the owls stayed asleep and the hawks stayed quiet. The squirrels did their usual squirrel things. It started getting warm again. Grandpa Nelson said it felt like a second dawn.
He walked with us to the corner of Belmont and Cesar Chavez Blvd, where he turned right to go find breakfast and we turned left to go to the Belmont library for more books on Portland history.
I am learning so much here. Looking forward to your visit!