BAR HARBOR – A little more than two minutes. That’s what the scientists and reporters said would be the length of time we would be able to see the eclipse at its peak. They had calculated that it would be over Maine at close to 2:40 in the afternoon. The question for many in Maine was, where to spend those two minutes?
I must confess, I am married to a science teacher who has more than a passing curiosity about the way our universe often seems to work with near-perfect precision. And truth-be-told, she’s not alone.
We were spending a few days in Bar Harbor before the start of another school year and by strange coincidence, the first day of our trip was also the same day of the solar eclipse.
For this part of the world, it would not be a full eclipse, but even still, the weather forecasters were calling for a clear day and we hoped to see something that hadn’t happened for many years.
We weren’t alone. As luck would have it we pulled into downtown Bar Harbor at about 1:15 and found a parking space within minutes. The town was packed with summer visitors and those who must have also thought this was a good place to view the upcoming celestial event.
We found a restaurant that had a roof-top deck, tables with sun umbrellas, and we were ready for lunch. That’s when it happened.
Just as we were settled into our seats and situated to see the sun, we noticed three young children going from table to table with cardboard eclipse glasses.
These three children, Maddy, Cole, and Myles, from Brunswick, New York, were visiting Maine with their parents and they too had decided that the Bar Harbor Beerworks deck would be a fine, makeshift observatory.
We didn’t have any glasses and as I looked from table to table, I realized that most of the people there didn’t have them either.
What I didn’t realize immediately was that the three young children wanted to share their Nasa-approved, eclipse sunglasses with those people on the deck who didn’t come prepared to see the sun, moon, and earth line up.
For the next 30-minutes or so, these three children shared their glasses with fellow customers, the wait staff, those who worked in the kitchen and “happened” to come up to the deck for a look. With a smile and a simple nod, they passed around their glasses.
“Do you want to look,” five-year-old Myles said. “It’s cool.”
Their parents smiled as the children quietly walked from table to table and introduced themselves. By the time they had finished their meal, just about everyone sitting on the deck with them had a smile on their face and story to tell about the kids with the glasses.
They were as memorable as the eclipse itself.