The Commonality of Totality

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. Why? Because lately it seems what most inspires me to write has to do with what divides us.

But over the last few days, and especially today, as Americans talked about the eclipse with varying degrees of excitement, I found myself wondering why it was such a big deal.

Why did people travel from all over the country to the “Path of Totality?”

Even in places that wouldn’t experience totality, the atmosphere this morning buzzed with excitement.

“Do you have your glasses?”

“Are you going to go outside to watch?”

Our office even encouraged everyone to take a few minutes to leave the office to go outside to watch.

I’ll admit, I hadn’t motivated myself enough to go out to search for ISO-certified glasses with which to watch the eclipse, though I was lucky to have a couple of co-worker friends who shared theirs.

But, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have glasses, because I found myself almost more interested in the crowd of people outside our office building than the sun playing hide-and-seek.

Pinhole Eclipse

So many smiling people. Some wore funny glasses. Some, like me, carried pieces of paper with pinholes. A few had cardboard boxes. Everyone shared whatever viewing instrument they had, with anyone who needed it. We shared stories of previous eclipses, shared our double shadows, took pictures of strangers.

Double Shadows

I continued to think about this event, even after the moon had given way to let the sun shine again. Why such a big deal?

Sure, it’s a rare and awesome event. Yes, it makes us think about our relative insignificance in the universe, and how little control we have over so much of what happens in our lives.

But I decided this was “an event” because in an age of growing division, this eclipse gave us commonality–something we could share.

It felt good to focus on what we have in common instead of what divides us, even if it was only for a few minutes.

Even Allie and Tommy got into the excitement!

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