In the four or so years that I've been writing and photographing this blog, I've never once wrapped a post around someone else's image. But a total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event—well, for most of us—and for this much-ballyhooed occasion, I had too much on my plate to be the usual lead driver on a road trip to South Carolina, where my sister-in-law Wendy just happened to live close to the very place the moon's shadow would exit the United States. So, a bit reluctantly, I opted to stay home and bid goodbye to my wife Pam, my son Noah, and my granddaughter Stasia, as they headed down to a picturesque fishing village known as McClellanville, SC. At a bit past 2:30, I witnessed, with a good friend, a two-thirds total eclipse, and while that sight was intriguing and certainly memorable, my SC crew got to see the real thing, as the thunderstorm clouds vanished for a time and everyone down there was blessed and awed with a dazzling spectacle of darkness in mid-afternoon. Noah, who is a fine photographer in his own right, was ready with his dSLR and took the perfect, absolutely total image. Mine, by contrast, shows the difference between the almost and the real thing: a situation, noted writer Annie Dillard, that has the same weight, as "kissing a man does to marrying him, or as flying in an airplane does to falling out of an airplane." I'm already married, so for next total eclipse in this country, which will be in 2024, I'm opting for a fall.