The senior residents of Querencia at Barton Creek are anxiously awaiting the day when the first total solar eclipse in 99 years moves across the United States. The celestial event is captivating the nation as many prepare to observe the natural phenomenon on Monday, August 21. As the light of day fades briefly from view, Querencia will host a “Solar Eclipse Viewing Party” to commemorate the event – complete with lunch, a live band, and, of course, NASA-approved eclipse glasses to safely watch the sun disappear in shadow.
For Querencia residents Ruth Ann McGarry and Peggy Uselton, this once-in-a-lifetime event is one they don’t intend to miss. The senior living community began planning for the event after McGarry recommended that everyone should have the opportunity to view the eclipse and join in on the fun with their own solar glasses.
“My son sent me a pair of solar glasses so I could see the eclipse to its full effect,” said McGarry. “Once I had the glasses in my hand and thought about how significant this event would be, I knew that everyone here at the community should have the chance to witness this rare occurrence. It’s remarkable that the path of totality, the area where the moon completely blocks out the sun, will make landfall exclusively in the U.S. for the first time since 1776! The national excitement surrounding the eclipse has upped the anticipation, and I know it’s something we will all be talking about for a long time. I remember the first time I saw an eclipse and marveled at the wonders of our universe. I know this will be very similar, and I can’t wait to be able to recount the experience.”
“Both of my sons have always had an interest in astronomy, and, because of that I’ve followed along with them over the years,” said Uselton. “I’m excited to witness the eclipse and be a part of such a scientifically historic event. I remember seeing my first eclipse as a child and watching it through a pin hole in a shoe box. There was something special about the anticipation of waiting for the shadow to fall, and I know this experience will be similar.”
In anticipation of the eclipse, Querencia will hold an astronomy evening with retired astronomy and physics teacher Ken Vanlew on Tuesday, August 15 at 7:30 p.m. Mr. Vanlew visits the community monthly to view the night sky and discuss astronomical events with residents. During the evening, residents will learn more about the eclipse and discuss any observations made by leading astronomers and scientists during the celestial event. This program is an extension of Querencia’s desire to provide residents with opportunities to continue learning, particularly about the world around them.
“We’re all looking forward to the opportunity to witness a moment in time not fully experienced by others in the U.S. in almost 100 years,” said Nate Weyand, executive director of Querencia at Barton Creek. “The total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we are proud to experience it with our residents. For a few minutes, we will all look up at the sky as one, with the ability to reflect on the beauty of our universe and the place we each hold in it.”