In The Shadow of the Eclipse: A personal story

August 21, 2017

It was a beautiful, magical day in Murphy, North Carolina as the skies were perfectly clear for the entire day. The air cooled, the strangest gray took over your eyesight, and the crickets chirped crazily. As the Total Solar Eclipse took over the sky, Jupiter and Venus glowed to the west of the corona. The four minutes go by incredibly fast but the memory is truly burned into your memory.

August 20, 2017

Night Sky in Murphy, NC
Night Sky in Murphy, NC

I can’t believe it is here!

With our arrival in North Carolina, the excitement is growing. I won’t look at the weather forecast. I am not one of those who is going to jump in the car and try to find clear skies. If they are not here, I’ll watch online and on TV. I know that sounds terrible, but I would rather be with friends and family than chasing it.

I did start the trip with an amazing first night of clear skies and fantastic starfields. Here’s to a great eclipse!

June, 2017

As the eclipse approaches, watch for more posts about Western North Carolina and how this eclipse is a seminal moment in my life.

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Times in Western North Carolina

In 1972, my parents moved our family from Springfield, MA, to Andrews, NC, so we could help my grandparents run their farm in Brasstown, NC.

I couldn’t believe we went to a place where my junior high school in Springfield was bigger than the entire town. Over the next three years, I came to love the place. Leaving Andrews and Brasstown was one of the worst experiences of my life.

I stopped at the farm driving from Florida to New York City from baseball spring training in 1992. It was my first trip back to the area. Everything was overgrown and had become a memory.

In 2005, I took my daughter to see what was left of my grandfather’s farm. It was a heartbreaking experience. The only things left were the remnants of our silo and my grandparent’s house which had fallen into total disrepair.

Now 12 years later, I am returning with my mom and dad for the Total Solar Eclipse. I’m hoping that time will bring back the original love I felt for what, in my childhood, was the most beautiful place in the world.

Barn on Grandfather, Dillard Phillips, farm in Brasstown, North Carolina
Mark Phillips at The Silo, all that remains of the farm in Brasstown, North Carolina, where Dillard and Erma Phillips gave me the best summers of my life.