Despite the lack of sunlight, let’s reflect on the solar eclipse

When I was growing up — 16 or 17 years old — I’d love to stay out just to the edge of my curfew: midnight. Often, I’d leave my friend’s house, north of town at midnight, so I’d be home by 12:15 a.m. and sneak in not-so-quietly. My parents didn’t seem to mind and I suppose I didn’t make a terrible habit of it. Just in the summertime. 

On my way home, I’d let the windows down in my 2002 Oldsmobile Alero, that ‘Black Ice’ air freshener leaving a trail of the present, in the past. I’d listen to whatever was on 94.9 KGGO, the classic rock station out of Des Moines. I love classic rock. No reason in particular, I just do. But I really love it in the summer time. Good mood, good grooves. 

The reason I bring all this up is because it reminds me a lot of the simplicity of life; when the biggest worries were getting home between midnight and 12:15 a.m. or if Susie Jones liked me or not. 

On Aug. 21, I saw a lot of people fading back into that simplicity, for maybe a minute or two, as they all harmoniously look up toward the sun, watching the moon eclipse our brightest star, and forgot about lesson plans, this week’s paper or the dreaded first day of school on the horizon. 

I, too, watch the eclipse as the maximum totality hovered over Big Timber Grade School and teachers took a break to join together and watch.

What made it even more special for me was after the eclipse began to fade, the teachers all had their picture taken on the playground equipment. They were laughing and still gazing up at the sun, donning their eclipse spectacles.

When I was driving back to the office, I really contemplated the totality of the eclipse, not the physical blockage of light but its meaning and what it had done to us on Earth. Maybe I was thinking way too much of it, but I thought about how much, in the last month I’ve been here, that I’ve really spent time just being simple, seek a little nostalgia from my past or relax and let the Earth move me, rather than have me try to move the Earth. 

If there’s something I’m taking away from the eclipse, besides some pretty neat pictures you can find in this week’s Pioneer, it’s that there’s a lot going on in this busy world today. So why not gather ourselves once a week and take a moment to stop thinking, and just look around. I did a lot more of that when I travelled for work every night, driving 15 to 60 minutes to a ball game in our coverage area. I’d just watch the rolling hills of corn and think about simpler times. Not dwelling, but reminiscing. 

Life wouldn’t be too bad, I don’t think, if we just stopped once and a while and searched for an eclipse-like moment. 

Stephen Kalb-Koenigsfeld / Pioneer Editor

 

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