A few weeks back, as the eclipse was approaching, I realized how close we really were to the “path of totality,” or when the moon is 100% in front of the sun. Lots of people we knew were driving and/or flying from much further away, and it was less than an hour drive for us…

Or it was supposed to be.

But there was no telling exactly how all those additional people going to a relatively small area to observe the eclipse would change the traffic or the situation on the ground.

Still, it felt like a great learning opportunity for the kids, so on that fateful day, my family decided to roll the dice and drive north to see the event.


The day started out as usual – we were behind schedule leaving. Mostly cheerful. The dog was sad but resigned to a nap.

Once we got on the road, things got interesting.

Actual footage of us “driving” north.


The miles would go down–but the estimated time of arrival only went up.

Felt a bit like Sisyphus, as though we were on a treadmill that would never truly arrive. As luck would have it, though, we did begin to make progress. It was a nail biter at the end, and we were planning what we were going to do if we were still crawling on the highway when the critical moment arrived.

But luck was on our side, at least up until this point. We got to our target destination, a small park, just a bit before the right time. We met some friends to chat, and all the kids played.

Apps were counting down the minutes, then the seconds. Clouds were threatening, at times fully obscuring the first stages of the eclipse.

And then it hit us.

It’s hard to describe how chillingly beautiful it was. I couldn’t help but think how strange and terrifying it would have been if I’d have had no explanation as to why it was happening.

It got cold. It got… silvery. The clouds framed the corona like a delicate lace, and purple peeked around the edges–a solar mass ejection that we could see with the naked eye. The halo was glorious and mesmerizing and over all too quickly.

I stood transfixed, honestly shocked at the immense beauty of it. Shadows were gone. Birds stopped chirping. The park, filled with people to observe this event, was peppered with gasps and whispers and–when it first began–cheers of excitement.

It was over all too quickly.

We used eclipse glasses, but when I was young, I remember making a pinhole viewer in science class for another eclipse.

Funnily enough, those pinhole viewers are a fairly old technology. They work on an old principle that also showed up in KNIGHT DEVOTED.

The camera obscura!

By James Ayscough – https://archive.org/details/b30373177/page/n1/mode/2up, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=90589188

Basically a tiny pinhole in something can project a reverse image of what’s on one side into a darker area, like you can see in the image above? Jav and Iseris use this to listen in on the king and queen in the story. But this was a real ancient thing.

Interestingly, the projections are upside down, but in an eclipse you can’t really tell because the sun and moon are circular, and you also can’t turn around and look at the to see the “right-side-up” version.

At least not without dire consequences.

Speaking of dire consequences. Then we had to go home. We decided to eat lunch (which we’d put off by snacking on emergency snacks) before heading home. I’m not sure if this was a huge mistake, but it basically allowed a lot of the traffic that had gone up to Erie, further than we’d driven north, to start coming back south again.

We didn’t join the hubbub until things had really gotten messy.


That turned what should have been a 1 hour drive into — wait for it — 3.5 hours before we got home! A total of 7 hours of driving. Again, the miles went down, but the time of the trip climbed.

We went a bit delirious and started singing sea shanties, like we too were adrift and far from our homes. The poor dog had to pee so bad once it was all over.


But was it worth it?


Anyway, the discussion of the eclipse is a bit old by now, but this was too fun and too connected to KNIGHT DEVOTED not to share!

This experience left us surprised at how amazing it was, and absolutely considering a trip to Scotland to see the 2026 one. Also, I mean, I just want to go to Scotland anyway. I understand now how some people decide they want to see every eclipse!

And if you think about it, this seems like a somewhat common phenomena on Earth because eclipses do happen fairly frequently, we just can’t easily observe them when they are, say, over the center of the Pacific Ocean.

But it’s amazing that the moon and the sun are just perfectly sized and just the right distance between them and us to make this possible. If the moon were just slightly bigger or further away, we wouldn’t be able to see the beautiful corona. Or if we had more than one moon, or a smaller or larger sun. Or two suns! Everything would be different in a different system.

And we get to experience this unique lining up every few years? SO COOL!

Anyway, check out the camera obscura in KNIGHT DEVOTED if you want to see more.

Have you ever seen an eclipse? Did the camera obscura in Knight Devoted surprise you?

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