The eclipse was a shared experience that did not require a subscription, a password, a ticket, a valid ID, proof of citizenship, or a body scan. There were no sides, no opposing teams, neither allies nor enemies. Briefly, we were people united by a common experience. Everybody was outside. Everybody was looking up. People poured into the streets without any placards that declared rage, bitterness, or political discontent. There were no logos, no corporate sponsors. There was no hourly charge for a place to park, nor for something to eat. Spontaneously, we shared our excitement and our special dark glasses, our silly pieces of pinhole cardboard. We laughed. We were excited in a pleasant way, all of us, as if celebrating. Momentarily, we forgot about political parties, ethnic groups, national identities. There were no strangers, no aliens, no refugees, and no foreigners. Briefly, we were just people standing there awestruck, looking up, reminded that we live together on the same planet in the same cosmos. We felt safe and connected and we remembered our kinship, our humanity, our place in the universe.
And then it was gone.