Yesterday was a magical day. When I least expected it.
Or maybe when I most expected it - but was still afraid to believe.
The Oregon Eclipse came to town, after months and years of build up, anticipation and hype.
As an Emergency Manager, planning for a mass influx of visitors to our state, I was worried. Along with hundreds of local and state response agencies, we planned and practiced and helped Oregonians prepare - for months.
Our plan was to lessen the impact of what the State forecasted: one million eclipse visitors coming in - during peak wildfire season - during peak tourism season. To our otherwise placid towns.
In my line of work, it's our job to worry. To think about worst case scenarios and plan to help make them a little less scary. To anticipate traffic and wildfire risks, health hazards, fuel shortages and all the other junk of life when there are too many people around.
Or when stuff you hope never happens - happens.
We emergency types didn't get a chance to just be.
To just see.
Which is what we hoped for - the quintessential Oregon experience - for people across our state.
Meanwhile, Mother Nature did her best work - seemingly effortlessly.
Thank you, Ma, for the awe inspiring miracle. Here in my home town - and in home towns across Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and places further east.
Oregon was the eclipse's first US landfall. Ground zero.
In anticipation, across our state, the people came - and came - and came.... and then the shadows came... and the eerie twilight glow came... the magenta/blue twilight hour at 10 o'clock in the morning came.... and then complete darkness came if you were positioned in the path of totality...
And the most amazing thing of all happened next.... and I saw some of it - but mostly I missed it.
Today, the morning after - I just watched this video - the moment I never saw while working. That moment -- this moment, brought me to tears...
All those funny glasses across all those different faces in all those different places... united in this moment.
People cheered and cried and clapped and turned completely silent. So did Ma Nature.
One species - no matter who we believe in, vote for, what our science, religion, evolution or spiritual force we do or don't believe in. No matter if we have skin or hair or feathers or scales. Wherever in life and the world we are.
Every one of us was reminded of how small we are - and maybe even, how insignificant. Without Ma Nature. And each other. As one.
And all the hopes and dreams this moment reminds us of - in the middle of our hustle and bustle days - and in the midst of all that emergency management angst...
Nature delivered the most amazing experience of all.
And humbled us - made us feel - remember - how connected we all are.
One planet, One people. One species.
A reminder to let go of fear - those moments where we hold back from following our dreams because we fear failure or hurt or some other bad outcome from an otherwise totally normal, natural moment in life.
She reminded us to put aside our differences. To not fear loving and believing again.
Because just when you think it's another normal day - or you fear a moment that could go from fun to no fun at all... a little bit of magic comes along...