Charlene Jutras (left) and Susan Jeffrey safely watch the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 in Duncan with proper light screening devices. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Charlene Jutras (left) and Susan Jeffrey safely watch the solar eclipse on Aug. 21 in Duncan with proper light screening devices. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Column: Eclipse kicked us out of our routines

New experiences, even if they’re not ones we’ve planned, can be good for us all

One of the best things about being in journalism for a lot of journalists I know is the fact that it’s usually something new every day.

We get to explore so many different areas of the community, both physically and mentally. It’s true, sometimes we get bogged down in the recurring stuff that inevitably comes up. It can be tough to find a new angle on the fundraising walk we’ve covered for the last 15 years, or the craft fair that’s been going for 20. Even the subjects around the municipal council and regional board tables can start to sound rather repetitive at times (regional recreation anyone?).

But then the skies will clear and we’ll get to talk to someone who’s invented a cool new gadget, or filmed a UFO in their backyard.

We get to hear about the latest medical discovery, or the new hospital.

Then there are really fun ones like this week’s eclipse.

Everyone in the office here at the Citizen headed outside as the clock hand ticked past 10 a.m. and the sky got noticeably darker.

None of us had thought to make a pinhole camera or other device to view the celestial phenomenon, but it didn’t matter. There were tons of people out on the street who had, and were happy to share.

People I had never seen before, but obviously work in the area, coalesced into a wondering group to see the sliver of sun (which was still astonishingly bright) reflected back on paper. We were all kicked out of our routines by this eclipse event, and it really brightened (ha, ha) the day. These kinds of collective experiences are things we’ll remember for a long time.

My mom took my niece and nephew to an event they held at the University of Victoria and had a similar experience. Though there were too many people and they couldn’t get into the main viewing area, organizers passed out the special glasses people could use to look at the eclipse, and everyone had to share. A group of strangers didn’t stay that way for long.

It’s kind of like when the power goes out, and suddenly all the distractions are gone and we wake up and look at each other and converse in the way that we don’t when we’ve got a screen just begging for our attention.

I think the moral of the story is that new experiences, even if they’re not ones we’ve planned, can be good for us all. Not to mention, fun.