95% Solar Eclipse at Old Friends in Georgetown
What the Big Event was like at the farm!
Today the long awaited event finally arrived. An almost full solar eclipse. Unless an eclipse is total there’s no corona, but the moon covering all but a little sliver of the sun would be pretty dramatic, we figured. The light would get dim and strange, the angles of shadows would be weird. With eclipse glasses we’d see the sun shrink to a narrow crescent, and the world would look like a slightly unfamiliar planet under an alien sun.
Michael led a special Eclipse Tour, while some of us gathered near the barn, next to War Emblem’s paddock, where there was a clear view of the sky. Some of the barn crew had supplied themselves with eclipse glasses, and Dr. Waldridge had some super-duper-quality ones which he kindly let us pass around.
Gradually the silhouette of the moon began crossing the sun (Dr. Waldridge: “Now it looks like Pac-man.”). We wondered what the horses and other animals would do when the light got strange and dim. Would it excite them? Puzzle them? We hoped it wouldn’t scare them. Here are some of their reactions, in photos taken during the eclipse.
Suddenly, at the height of the eclipse, we saw every single horse over in paddock 51 raise their heads in unison, on total alert. What made them do that? we asked each other. What mysterious thing did they, and only they, sense?
All at once, they took off running. By then it was so dark the camera’s shutter speed had probably slowed down. Any motion came out as a blur. Only a few of them are in the photo, but they were all sweeping across the pasture at a fast gallop.
As I moved to try to get more of the geldings in the frame, the reason for their dash came into view. A car had parked by the roadside so the people in it could enjoy the nearly full coverage of the sun. A car! Woo, what’s a car doing there? Hey guys, look, a car, wow! Let’s run over and investigate!
The paddock 51 herd soon got bored and went back to where they’d been grazing before (as Amazombie, left foreground, wondered what was up).
Soon the moon passed on over the sun and it began to get light again. Shadows returned to their usual sizes and colors brightened. The birds, the only ones besides the humans who seemed to notice anything strange was going on, stopped their roosting behavior and began singing again.
War Emblem seemed to have the final word. “I knew the sun wouldn’t get eaten up. Speaking of eating, when are you-all going to stop gawking at the sky and deliver my dinner?”