Letter: Walking in my grandfather’s footsteps

Posted 4/11/24

This late-life adventure to witness “Nature showeth Thy handiwork” is now one to reflect on, come together on and pass on to grandchildren of our own.

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Letter: Walking in my grandfather’s footsteps


To the editor:

While it was a delight to read Grandpa Hal’s account of the 1925 total eclipse in last week’s Phoenix, it was also inspiration for me to leave Bristol at 3:30 a.m. on Monday and drive 4.5 hours to Irasville, Vt. to be in the totality path for this year’s spectacle myself.

I met my sister Kate Sparrow, who has a home there, and with two other house guests we packed up our folding chairs and eclipse-viewing glasses to join a row of cars parked on Bragg Hill Road with a spectacular view to the south and the Green Mountains. The sun shone through thinning, low wispy clouds.

The day a brisk 55 degrees, we joined a festive tailgating crowd of strangers both local and from afar, setting up tripods for telescopes and cameras. We made friends fast and shared last minute details like “don’t forget to take your glasses off during full corona…it will go fast!”

Once the moon’s edge contacted the lower right quadrant of the sun, folks grew quiet and serious. It seemed like forever awaiting the full corona, but the sudden temperature drop was tangible. The corona was dramatic and immense, visible sunflares bursting from the edges and the ambient daylight turning a dark gray/green with its own luminescence…as Grandpa said. During the three minutes of totality most took pictures or simply ‘oooed’ and ‘ahhhed’. Through dark glasses a fully black sun was burning around the edges.

Too soon it was gone and the sunlight came back. We had witnessed what we came for, but were left speechless. At an early dinner we all shared views and texted photos to curious and impatient family.

Kate’s house guests needed to drive to Connecticut that evening, but soon regretted doing so, texting us a photo of endless car taillights in a traffic jam on Rte. 100 S through Granville Gulf, one of the state’s most scenic roadways, now a congestion of stargazers working their way home. Not even ski season traffic looms this large.

Tuesday morning southbound traffic slowed to 25mph by Concord, N.H., but I focused on the silver lining of the event of a lifetime, shared with family and friends. This late-life adventure to witness “Nature showeth Thy handiwork” is now one to reflect on, come together on and pass on to grandchildren of our own.

DeWolf Fulton
Monkeywrench Lane

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