This wasn’t turning out as I expected.
It was nearing midnight. Behind me, on I-25 South out of Wyoming, a hundred-mile back up was snaking forward, slowly.
It had taken five hours to go 60 miles in the company of other eclipse viewers who were now all as eager as me to leave Wyoming behind.
Cars were backed up on the exit and were 10 deep at the gas stations waiting to fill up and creep a little further along.
I was thankful to be out of it and welcomed the opportunity to sleep in my car in a field adjacent to an Exxon station, a field whose claim to fame less than 12 hours earlier was to host other people like me who'd driven to the southeast corner of Wyoming for the unique privilege of seeing a total eclipse.
I managed to make it into the path of totality in time to stroll the streets of a small Wyoming town waiting for the interesting part to begin.
I peered up into the sky through my certified American Optics cardboard glasses.
Sure enough, there was a semi-circular black chunk missing from right side of the sun, like someone had nipped it with nail clippers or one of those tools designed to get perfectly round scoops out of watermelons.
Shopkeepers and waitresses would pop out onto the street and quickly glance up at the sun through their glasses and then dart back in.
The eclipse was progressing, but without the benefit of these glasses, there was no way you would have known. It was sunny with barely a cloud in the sky and Wyoming is nearly all sky.
This went on for over an hour, the moon was 25, 50, 75% over the sun without any discernible change on the streets of Wheatland. But it was happening.
I began to wonder: “When will I be able to see evidence of progress with my own eyes?"
It remained imperceptible on the ground until the moon had eclipsed the sun by about 90%, then a strange twilight emerged, swallows appeared, streetlights blinked on. The “open” sign in the laundromat was suddenly visible and I could see some stars.
And then, totality. It was safe to view without glasses for less than a minute. It went by unbelievably fast
I waited … to feel… something... to experience some or all of the things I’d heard about in the media leading up to the event.
I'd heard about people bursting into tears, having life-changing transformative experiences and … feeling … something. Animals acting strangely and all this cool, you’ll-never-be-the-same, because you-just-saw-a-total-eclipse epiphany stuff.
I’m standing in Wheatland Wyoming and I don’t feel anything but let down and eager to leave. Hmmm.
At midnight, in my car trying to sleep while the thousands who had to be at work, or somewhere, the next day, crept down I-25,
I asked myself, “Why did you come here? Why are you sleeping in your car in a field next to an Exxon station?”
And as if on cue, at that very moment, a stock tractor-trailer full of loudly bleating sheep pulled in right next to me. I thought, “oh, this must be the eclipse related crazy animal behavior I read about.” Finally!
I fell asleep counting sheep, albeit in a way I hadn't expected.
I awoke to a stunning sunrise in an uncrowded Wyoming with barely a trace of the exodus from the night before.
As I eased down the now near empty interstate, the sun rose unobscured.
I thought about what I'd seen through the special glasses I and thousands of others had purchased to protect our vision.
I considered the sun was 90% covered by the moon and it had been invisible to the naked eye, even dangerous to observe.
We were so close to the thing we’d all traveled to see and when it was literally a breath away, we could not tell it was happening with our own eyes.
And then, suddenly, that flaming, white halo exploded around the moon; I had been surprised that it was white. That white incandescence must have been there all along. It took an obstacle to make it visible.
It occurred to me that as we’re walking around at street level, working, waiting, wishing and striving, we’re all a little closer to our moment of incandescence than we probably realize.
If you keep working and keep faith, what you seek will appear and when it does, you’ll realize it had been happening all along, too powerful for your naked eyes to see.
It’s an obstacle that gives the sun an opportunity to blaze with an incandescence millions stop to look at, and that unchallenged, it could never achieve.
It’s the same with us all. Your dreams are closer than you think.
Make your move,
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Courtney Kirschbaum is keynote speaker, career strategist and advocate. Her advice has been featured in Fast Company, CIO, Business News Daily Magazines. A TEDx Speaker and award-winning presenter, she’s inspired and empowered thousands to get a career and lifestyle they love. She’s the creator of Job Hunt School an online program for young professionals to find their ideal job. Take a sample class here.