The period of time local officials, media and others have talked about, fretted over, eagerly awaited and hopefully prepared for is finally upon us this week.
Ready or not, the solar eclipse is just a few days away, and the flood of visitors predicted for the area has either begun to arrive as you read this or will show up in the coming hours and days.
Reaction to the potential eclipse impact has grown to epic levels — an occurrence that could cause traffic gridlock, empty grocery shelves, jam up cell phone and internet service and raise the already high likelihood of wildfire. Stock up on supplies early, we have been told by local leaders. Also, allow extra time to get to work or consider not going at all.
The hype is enough to make even the coolest of cucumbers at the very least uneasy and at worst, panic-stricken. Some likely look at the solar eclipse and wonder, will our community survive this? Will we get through unscathed?
While these thoughts and emotions are certainly understandable and all of the warnings issued by local leaders is certainly warranted — better safe than sorry, right? — people should also embrace what the solar eclipse is about to bring to the community and make the best of the hand we are dealt.
Embrace the possibility of new people of multiple cultures and backgrounds experiencing Prineville and Crook County for the first time. Make them feel welcome and realize that they are here to enjoy something special that only a select number of communities throughout the country can offer.
Be patient. Yes, it will probably take longer to do everyday things. Perhaps a simple attempt to get through town will become a challenge. Maybe a trip to the store for that forgotten item will take much longer than the usual matter of minutes.
The next week and a half will challenge the community. Nobody would dispute that. However, the degree to which that challenges people is in their hands to a certain extent. We know — or are 90 percent certain — what is about to happen. Local officials and business leaders have done their best to prepare us for it and hopefully residents have followed their lead. Now it is time to face this event head-on and make the best of the rare situation this community is blessed to experience.
Be prepared, be patient and have some fun.