I took the path past the ancient willow, one of the few trees still standing from the days when the Southwest dorm complex was just a farmer's field.
The lighting was similar to dusk or a rainy day, although the sky was mostly clear and it was only 2:15pm.
Passing the UMass stadium, I was surprised to realize this was the first time I had set foot on those stadium grounds since I saw the Grateful Dead there in -gulp!- 1979.
What would that years ago me have thought, if through some transcendent tear in the time/space continuum during Jerry's guitar solo, I had looked decades into the future to see me walking by today? Would I be pleased or disappointed to observe that I never quite escaped the UMass orbit? Probably I would just be glad to see I was still alive at all in the distant 2017, as even back then I was already exhibiting behavior that was inspiring doubt about my longevity.
Young Tom: "Good to see you!"
Old Tom: "Good to be seen."
Soon I found myself approaching the observation site of the cosmic event. There was quite a big crowd.
The local media was there as well.
The crowd mingled among the ancient stones. I've been told that local pagans perform moonlight rituals at this site.
Lots of people had homemade viewing devices, like this one my friend made that forms an E for eclipse!
The event was put on by the UMass Astronomy Department and their student association, which provided telescopes with special filters for magnified viewing.
Elsewhere, Congressman Jim McGovern watching the eclipse.
Congressman Richard Neal and Beth Ward.
photo courtesy of mark davis and mitch ogulewicz