I read something recently about how there are people who chase eclipses. They travel around the world in search of solar eclipses, which apparently happen 2-4 times per year. There’s even a name for this: umbraphile, or shadow lover. (Shadow lover sounds MUCH more exotic and interesting than umbraphile, I must say.)

This seems like such a weirdly specific thing to be into, but I kind of get it. Oregon had a total solar eclipse in 2017 and it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. There was this strangely intense moment when the sun was fully covered: a liminal state of being, day but not-day. It got surprisingly cold and the crickets started singing, it felt like the whole world was being rebooted. In a way, it reminded me of the time I was in a small plane flying around the Seattle area and startled by the perspective of Mt. Rainier’s enormous looming presence. Like, you humans think you’re in charge of everything, and yet.


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2 years ago

We saw the same (I think) eclipse in North Carolina that year and I was talking with my three children about it just yesterday — they all remember the eerieness so well. My friends chase them, but I am just looking forward to the one near my parents in Texas in a few years ….

Sonja M Rutherford
Sonja M Rutherford
1 year ago

We travelled from Seattle to Prineville, OR for the eclipse that year. We really were originally looking for a fun reason to take a week long camping trip and planned it well in advance – long before the crazy hoardes of people started talking about it, snapping up all the AirBnBs, taking over field with tents, etc. And it was 2000% better than I thought it’d ever be to see an eclipse right in the path of totality (99% eclipse is nothing compared to total.)
I’m already planning my trip to Texas in 2024 for the next one :) Now I know I’m an Umbraphile! :)