Where were you at 2:37 p.m. Monday, when from the vantage point of the Chattahoochee Valley the moon blocked 92 percent of the sun?
Brantley Laney, 13, was on a grassy expanse outside his classroom at South Girard School in Phenix City. To him, the eclipse looked like “a big crescent Happy Meal.”
“I hope the Moon’s not falling toward us,” he said.
Ansley Deaton, 13, thought the eclipse looked like a smiley-face. “This is something I’ll always remember,” she said.
This wasn’t science class. It was “Career Preparedness,” led by business and marketing teacher Preston Pritchett, the only South Girard teacher able to purchase a class set of certified eclipse glasses before they sold out.
Pritchett said his class focuses on “real-life and real-world events and happenings — so the eclipse kind of falls into that category.”
“You absolutely want to take advantage of a unique experience like this,” he said.
On the patio
Alice Knight was on the patio enjoying moon pies and tea with fellow residents of Farrfield Manor, an apartment complex for seniors off Farr Road in Columbus.
In her 74 years, Knight had never seen an eclipse, and she described it as amazing.
She was also struck by the thought that people across the nation were also watching it. “We all have something in common today,” she said.
Juliette Day, 72, was inside watching it on television. “I like to hear the commentary, see what the scientists say,” she said.
At the space center
More than a thousand people were at Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center, and most of them were children.
They included Cub Scouts and homeschoolers and after-school program participants, as well as a little girl who viewed the eclipse through a welding helmet.
Others were using more conventional eclipse goggles, homemade pinhole boxes and something called a Sun Spotter.
“It’s already eclipsing!” one boy yelled. “It’s so cool!”
“It’s glorious,” said Wanja Ngugi, the center’s assistant director, as she watched the children on the lawn.
She said the eclipse gave the Coca-Cola Space Science Center the opportunity to “show off who we are.”
Inside, there was a research grade telescope where researchers were at work.
“The ‘aha’ moment is seeing young people get excited about science,” Ngugi said. “Hopefully we’re just sowing a seed.”
On the mat
Up the Chattahoochee River, Brinkley Pound was doing yoga in Woodruff Park with a class from a studio called Up! Factory.
“It’s fun to be outside, to be here for the whole thing,” she said of the eclipse.
The effect was thrilling.
“You could feel the breeze come in,” Pound said. “You could feel the darkness, you could feel the stillness.”
Participants with eclipse glasses took breaks to look up in the sky. One woman had a separate set of glasses for herself and her iPhone.
“Yoga is sort of a reset tool to reset your body and mind,” said Erika Junco, owner of Up! Factory. “Doing it under the sun in sort of a celestial reset is a natural event to have.”
On the river
Nearby, children climbed on the playground.
People lounged in the hammock park.
The man at the Planet Pops stand did steady business in the 90-degree heat. The dry splash pad baked in the sun, a reminder that school has started but summer is still here.
Down on the RiverWalk, people sat on benches and adjusted their glasses and looked into the sky.
Further up the river, employees at TSYS were playing a game called total eclipse bingo, watching the eclipse and eating moon pies.
Across town, people gathered at Columbus Technical College to watch the eclipse in the auditorium — and yes, eat more moon pies.
In our own way
The day began with long lines. At 8:30, folks queued up at Krispy Kreme to get special eclipse doughnuts drenched completely in chocolate.
At 10 a.m., 400 people stood in line at the Columbus Public Library for a chance to score one of 250 coveted pairs of eclipse glasses.
By 2:37, the streets were clear, with people observing the eclipse in their own way. And a lot of folks were sharing.
Sharing glasses, sharing pinhole viewers, sharing scientific knowledge.
Sharing moon pies.
That’s just what we do.
Robin Trimarchi and Mike Haskey contributed to this report