Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

We live in a good area for celestial events

Say what you will about the flat horizons of the High Plains, they offer some of the best skies on earth.

I’ve loved our great bowl of sky my whole life, with our unimpeded views of sunrises, sunsets, thunderstorms, rainbows, constellations, and all manner of celestial events.

Given all that, one of the wonders that has evaded me is seeing an annular eclipse … that proverbial “ring of fire.”

With luck — and some grace from Mother Nature — that will change on Saturday morning — and it won’t even require me to climb in a car.

I happen to live in “the path” of the annular eclipse that takes place that morning from about 9 a.m. until noon, with a couple minutes of pure magic halfway through that.

Portales and Clovis are barely northeast of prime viewing conditions, but with only a short drive south or west — and cloudless skies, of course — you, too, can be in a great spot.

It’s been 11 years since an annular eclipse was in our neighborhood. It was May of 2012. It happened to also be the same week my niece was graduating from high school in Reno, Nev. That offered a dilemma until we learned that Reno was also smack dab in the path.

You may not be quite nerdy enough to have a file folder in your home labeled “Eclipse glasses,” but I am.

When we packed for this trip, those eclipse glasses were one of the first items added to the luggage. (If you’re a newbie to solar gazing, these foldable cardboard frames with special purposes lenses are an inexpensive but vital tool to allow you to watch the sun without frying your retinas.)

My niece’s family and friends in Reno were all as excited as we were about the chance to view the annular eclipse.

We gathered that afternoon on a huge outdoor patio of a beautiful home up on one edge of the gorgeous Truckee River valley with all kinds of safe viewing devices … eclipse glasses, homemade shoebox viewers, welding helmets, and high-dollar telescopes with solar filters.

There were at least 30 of us there and between us, we were ready for anything.

Well, almost.

The wild card was one stubborn cloud.

It wasn’t even a huge cloud.

In fact, perched where we were on the edge of a valley, sunshine taunted us only miles away, but across an area that we had neither time nor good roads to access.

Mother Nature, even in all her glory, can be cruel and heartless, and she was that day. We had nary a glimpse of the ring of fire.

Meanwhile, in New Mexico — in fact on my own property — my friends reported pristine viewing conditions and they got spectacular photos.

I’ve lived long enough in drought conditions to never pass up an opportunity for moisture, but just this once, I am begging for perfect blue skies on Saturday morning.

Pretty please, Mother Nature? If you come through on this one, I won’t ask again.

Well, not at least until that total eclipse that is passing through Texas on April 8. But that’s a plea for another day.

To learn all you need to know about when, where and how to view Saturday’s annual eclipse, here is an excellent site

http://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/october-14-2023

Betty Williamson is wearing her eclipse glasses and counting the seconds. Reach her at:

[email protected]