The wedding

Once Jim and I were back from the eclipse, wedding work went into high gear. We spent the next three days running errands; assembling crafts; wrapping gifts; introducing relatives; transporting boxes of decor; and sending a flurry of e-mails. On Friday night, we checked off our last to-do item, and then it was time to get married!

Our wedding was on Saturday, and it was a wonderful blur of happy feelings. I think I spent the whole day just floating along on air. The love from our friends and families was totally intoxicating – we’ve spent the last few days coming down from the emotional high. It was an overwhelming experience for both of us, in the best possible way.

Photo by Katherine of Wilde Scout Photography.

Now, a few days later, we’ve mostly recuperated. That means it’s time to start  packing up our apartment in Brooklyn for our long trip – the bike tour.

Sketchbook pages from the Eclipse

This trip involved a lot of sitting on planes and buses, which made it very productive for drawing! I decided to do most of the longer drawings in circles to keep with an eclipse/sun theme.

A sketch from our early-morning flight on the left, and of me in my fancy sun-protecting hat on the right.
Drawing the back of peoples’ heads during the eclipse tour briefing. (Top left is a little doodle I did on my last day of work.)
On the left, appreciating Big Sky Country. On the right, appreciating all the eclipse chasers and their lovely telescopes.
Our interpretation of totality. This painting was done at an airport bar while we lamented our flight – cruelly delayed from 12 AM to 2 AM.

Wyoming and the Eclipse

The last week and a half has been a total whirlwind. We saw the Great American Eclipse; came home; got married; and now are packing up for our bike tour.

Let’s start with the eclipse. After our last goodbyes at work, Jim and I flew to Denver, Colorado. From there, we drove to Casper, Wyoming, to meet up with my family for our official eclipse tour.

Why Casper? Well, my mother’s parents actually grew up there, and my mom made regular visits when she was little. My parents saw an ad for Twilight Tours in Sky & Telescope magazine, and thought it would be the perfect combination of a little family history along with a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.

On eclipse day, we left Casper at 4 AM to reach the viewing site at dawn. The viewing site was grass airstrip outside Glendo, WY (pop: 205).

Dawn over the viewing site

The eclipse itself happened like this: first it got a little dimmer, then much dimmer. It started to get cold. The wind stopped. Shadows became crisp. Everything felt wrong, and a little surreal. The sun slimmed into a tiny crescent and then…twilight!

Watching the sky through eclipse binoculars
Weird sharp shadows

The sun was a bright ring and corona around a perfectly black moon. The sky was twilight blue, with a panoramic sunset around all 360 degrees of view. We laughed and applauded and cheered for it. And then, just as quickly, it was over; only an hour later it was back to a sunny day and 95 degree dry heat.

On Tuesday, the whole family got in an SUV to a trip out to the family homestead. My great-grandfather participated in the US homesteading program back in the ’20s. In return for living on the land for a year or two, he was granted a square mile of it.

To get to the homestead, you start out from Casper. The stop lights disappear, then the stop signs. The asphalt starts to get rough, then turns to gravel. You stop seeing houses or farms or cows. Finally, the gravel turns into double-track dirt, and you’re there.

A few miles away from the homestead. Note the bullet holes.
Don’t lose the car.

I loved the vastness of the landscape. I’m an east-coast woman, and I knew sort of what to expect, but it’s not quite the same as seeing those big empty spaces for yourself. But despite how arid it was, there was a lot of life – antelopes; bugs; weird little lizards. And, of course, cows.

You can see for miles and miles.
Poor fella. Apparently he up and died on the property.

And with that pilgrimage complete, Jim and I drove back to Denver and jumped on our red-eye back to New York. We had a two hour catnap in Brooklyn, and then it was time to finish the wedding!