Fayette County


Rain. Rain. Go Away!

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.
Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Seems this week there was a search online in the Bluffton area for Eclipse glasses. Thousands of frantic people were begging for glasses. Seems also that a hustle was happening all over the country. People were charging huge sums for fake glasses to the poor souls who just woke up to discover they would be blinded if they were not wearing the “Real Eclipse Glasses.” And then some folks learned that they had been scammed. Not the real thing. Oh dear.
It is 2:10 in Bluffton, S.C. and Bill and I are celebrating his birthday here today, less than two hours from Charleston, where soon there is to be a Total Eclipse. We have chosen not to make the drive on congested Interstate 95, and an hour ago we were able to view the Sun from a dock near my daughter’s home. It was perfect. Now, at 2:20, less than 30 minutes from the eclipse, it is raining! My extended family have incredibly long faces. We are all sorely disappointed. We may never have this same opportunity. The next Total Eclipse is in 2024, and again in 2052. At least there is a possibility.
Oh dear, it is now 2:38 and the rain is stopping. We have left the dock and returned to Kim’s home. There is a sliver of the sun peeking from behind a little clump of dark clouds. We have all moved outside. My daughter shouts, “I can see it; look, there it is!” I cannot see anything with my eclipse glasses, but with the naked eye I can see the sliver. I can see the Sun! This is exciting.  I have calculated how quickly that little cloud will have to move in order for our murmurs of hope to turn into shouts of joy. It is going to be tricky.
I am called back inside to watch the crowds who have gathered in Nashville. Oh dear. Clouds there too. My cousins traveled there from Atlanta and North Mississippi. Minutes later, we are still waiting for the sun to peek from that one little hole, where if the wind is at just the right speed, we will see the greatest Celestial event of our lives.
It is 2:40. Six minutes to countdown. Looks like the folks in Columbia are in for a disappointment. And the weather in Charleston, the city on the east coast with the greatest chance of a truly Total Eclipse, is looking pretty grim, too. A couple who has traveled at some expense from the UK is putting on a good face, pretending he and his wife are having a really great time just hanging out with other expectant tourists.
2:43. I am being called to put on my “Real Eclipse Glasses”; I must go back outside and see if the clouds have opened up. Three minutes ‘til Show Time!
Do you remember other events where the weather played such a critical role? We went to a gorgeous outdoor wedding this Spring when the bride’s veil blew over her beautifully coiffed hair and down into her face many times. The groom and the maid of honor did a fine job of pulling it back into place while the rest of the wedding party prayed it would not turn into a typhoon before we could get back into the Barn where the reception was to be held. Praise the Lord. A downpour occurred just as we all gathered inside. Crisis avoided!
Last Friday as we readied the grounds and the inside of our church for “in case of rain,” I felt confident the weather would clear and that we would not play softball on a muddy field or eat soggy burgers. But, just in case, we fixed tables and chairs in the Fellowship Hall so that our guests could eat and play games no matter the predicted showers. The “insurance” paid off. No rain. After an entire week of rainy skies and waterlogged days, we played softball on a beautiful dry field in sunny 85 degree weather and ate hot dogs at picnic tables under the shade trees.
But there was no insurance possible for today’s event. The weather was already decided. Some of us would be rewarded with a grand view of a magical event, while others of us would just have to content ourselves with the movies and still photos of what others were privileged to witness and record.
Like our cousins in Atlanta who had traveled to Nashville, those who had filled the hotels and had jammed the Interstates to Columbia and Charleston, we too were nervous and disappointed as the clouds looked like they would not move from in front of the Sun. In some areas, the excited watchers in S.C. did see the Moon cover the Sun. We, however, did not see anything but one another searching the skies for that little break in the clouds which never came. The birds never stopped chirping, the grass never turned a platinum silver, and we never felt the otherworldly calm that had been described.
Nevertheless, as I gazed up into the heavens at the dark clouds scudding across the grey skies, I recognized that every day I can see a beautiful and magnificent world, a stunning Show; I don’t have to wait on the Moon to be aligned with the Sun, or a Comet to come blazing across the sky. I don’t need to count the days till a Full Moon or until there is a meteor shower. Every day that the Sun rises and every evening when the Sun sets amid fiery rays, rays that turn the clouds into billows of pink, salmon, and crimson, we are treated to an exhibition as magnificent as any Solar Eclipse. Every night when the moon becomes visible in the darkening sky, and when the face of the Man in the Moon looks down upon Earth’s minions, we are treated to a Miracle. No special glasses needed.