The 2017 Solar Eclipse

by Grace Hennivk, 17, Brussels, ON | Apr 9, 2021 | 0 comments

One ordinary day, I noticed a Nature Friend magazine from March 2017 lying on the couch. I picked it up and started flipping through it. I soon noticed the article by Kevin Shank, “Story Starter for Winter, Spring, and Summer.” Nature Friend was requesting stories about things we, the readers, had done in the specific seasons. But what really caught my eye was the section on summer.

August 21, 2017 Solar eclipse,
August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse. Photo © Kevin Shank.

“And now for a third story I’d like for you to send us. Something very special will occur on August 21, and it will affect almost everyone reading this.

A total solar eclipse will occur that day. The path of totality will strike land on the Pacific shore of Oregon and sail out to sea across the Atlantic off the coast of South Carolina. After it is over, I hope a lot of you send us your stories about the event.

Where were you? What did you do to prepare for the event? What did you experience? Were you clouded out?”

To me, just reading that made me want to laugh at myself. Unlike many of the stories in Nature Friend about the eclipse, my family and I did nothing to prepare for the event. We didn’t live in the right spot for totality, so I wasn’t too excited about it. Anyhow, on with the story….

August 21, 2017, was a hot, slightly cloudy day. My brother Caleb and I were outside playing some badminton. While I was in the middle of a serve, I noticed my friend Susanna Hiller drive in.

“I came to pick up the air compressor Joe wanted,” she said to my mom at the doorway. As she was starting to go, suddenly she said, “We are doing peaches today, and I was wondering if Grace would like to help.”

Would I like to help? Of course I would, so I jumped in the car with Susanna and the air compressor and rode to the Hiller house, a short drive away.

So, shortly before the eclipse began, I was peeling and slicing peaches with Susanna, her sister, and my friend Bethany. We stopped for a while to take a break from peaches, and that was when my mom called.

“The eclipse is starting to happen now,” she said, so we girls hunted up a welder’s helmet to look at the sun. That was a mistake. We knew nothing about what type of lens to use, so we mistakenly got an auto-darkening lens.

For about a half hour, Bethany and I looked at the sun as the moon passed over it. The helmet had a queer way of flickering on and off as we were using it, but it was still interesting to watch the eclipse with it. However, toward the end of the eclipse, both Bethany and I had very bad headaches!

Soon afterward, we finished the peaches and I went back home. That’s where I found out my mistake. After I’d told that I’d seen the eclipse, Mom asked what we’d looked at it with.
“A welding helmet,” I said.

“What kind of welding helmet?” Dad asked.

“I don’t know, just a welding helmet,” I said.

Dad soon figured out what kind it was, and I learned that if you look at the sun without the proper type of lens, you can get a very bad headache for a month or more!

We were thankful there was no permanent damage to Bethany’s eyes or mine, and the headaches eventually went away. Take warning! When the next eclipse happens, make sure you research beforehand what to use for looking at it.

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