Never mind the rain, Sitkans take to the skies to view eclipse

Sitkan Brant Brantman takes in Monday’s eclipse from the air between Portland and Minneapolis — a trip that was set in motion by listening to the song “Why Does the Sun Shine?” as a child. (Photo by Cindy Edwards/KCAW)

Sitkan Brant Brantman takes in Monday’s eclipse from the air between Portland and Minneapolis — a trip that was set in motion by listening to the song “Why Does the Sun Shine?” as a child. (Photo by Cindy Edwards/KCAW)

While millions of Americans went out of their way to travel somewhere to watch Monday’s eclipse for a few minutes, a few people took to the skies to watch it for hours.

Sitkans Cindy Edwards and Brant Brantman were on a regularly-scheduled flight from Portland to Minneapolis on Monday.

Although their vacation to visit friends was planned fairly recently, the journey itself was almost a lifetime in the making.

Their flight left Portland an hour before totality, just as the eclipse started. And it only got better.

“We were looking south as we flew east, looking right at the eclipse,” Edwards said. “I couldn’t believe it. It was consistent across the 3-and-a-half hours of the flight. We had the eclipse the whole way.”

Edwards said that even the pilots came back and checked out the eclipse from their front row seats.

It was much more than coincidence that everyone got such an excellent look at the event.

Edwards said her husband, Brant Brantman, has had plans in the works for a long time.

“The trouble started when Brant was a young child and he had an album all about the galaxy. And all of the songs on the album were about the sun and the moon and the stars, and it started a trend he has been following all his life,” Edwards said. “He figured out that we’re going to go 520 miles per hour east, and he knew what time it was all going to happen.”

Although their flight path did not cross the totality, Edwards and Brantman were pretty close — more than 90-percent.

Edwards said there was just a sliver, and it never got completely dark. Yet she witnessed something that Earth-bound viewers can only imagine.

“With just a thin hair, it was light out. But as you looked across the landscape you could watch it getting darker and darker,” Edwards said. “It wasn’t a fine line and then pure darkness, but it was definitely dark out there.”

She said the sky was a palette of blues, like an impressionist painting.

And the question all of us far from the eclipse have for those who went to extraordinary effort to see it: What does it all mean?

KCAW – Did you have a personal spiritual catharsis of any kind watching this?

Edwards – (Laughs) I think it’s one of those moments where you realize how little you are. You know when you were a little kid laying in the field looking up at the stars and you just felt so teeny-weeny? It definitely felt like that.

Music: Why Does the Sun Shine? – Tom Glazer

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