Tuesday, July 17, 2012

July 14, 2012 - Christian County Illinois / Dan

This past Saturday I was out watching non-severe pulse storms firing along a boundary in the next county south while waiting to go pick up Ava in another. Just as I was getting ready to head back to town, I received a text from my good friend Dan Bonnett who is also Ava's "Poppy" telling me that he had picked her up and that they were going to his house. This changed things in that I no longer had to hurry back so I didn't and instead, took the opportunity to shoot some evolving base structure that was catching the afternoon light. Initially, I doubted much would come of it but was in fact treated to an interesting display along with some humor.

Though moving exceptionally slow, a small *wall cloud* would briefly wrap up in the inflow portion before being eroded into oblivion by the mature collapsing cell. This process would repeat a short while later as I stayed with it and become more robust. Activity with the scene below as well as one to follow which had some weak rotation can be seen in the time lapse video further down.

All good things must end as I needed to get Ava so I drove back through the precipitation core which was a welcome but sorely localized relief for the ongoing drought. Exiting into sunlight from behind the complex, I expected a rainbow but not the foreground object that upon alignment, had me laughing hysterically.

Arriving at Dan's place, it was now twilight and Ava had no desire to leave nor did he seem to mind. They shared a Monkey Bread for "dinner" which is not exactly most nutritious meal but I don't care that he spoiled her and am actually grateful for it. Telling him about the session and thanking him for making it happen, Ava and I walked home as his unit is behind ours.

Through the overnight on Saturday, states as far south as Missouri and Arkansas were treated to a ridiculous aurora borealis display due to an X-class solar flare to hit the planet. I had to work and was unable to be out in the country to view this magnificent sight but did at least witness and shoot a scheduled planetary conjunction featuring Venus, Jupiter and the moon early Sunday morning. Usually I share these things with Dan as I saw him almost daily but like every Sunday, he was down tending to his wife who is in her latter stages of Alzheimer's. Despite not seeing him, I heard that his visit with her was "an exceptionally good one" which if you are familiar with this disease, is what the family needed and especially him after a significant setback with her condition recently.

The ongoing solar storm went into the Sunday overnight so prior to heading into work, I shot for about 30 minutes but with no luck. Auroras would happen shortly after I concluded the session but were brief with the activity then quickly waning. I still managed to view as well as image an iridium flare seen as the stationary dot diagonally up to the left from Polaris by about an inch.

Throughout this entry I have alluded to Dan Bonnett who would be my step father-in-law had Ava's mother and I married thus I simply refer to him as my good friend. Regardless, over the last eight years that I have had the honorable privilege of knowing him, he has been like a father figure to me in Illinois and especially considering my biological dad is deceased and my stepfather is in Pennsylvania. We share several mutual interests including science, nature, technology, politics, religion, goofy humor and even pet preferences. We've gone on many nature walks and watched numerous International Space Station flybys in our parking lot while the neighbors looked at us like we were nuts.

Monday evening he succumbed to an unexpected heart attack. I was present through the ordeal and was among two other individuals to get the ball rolling on EMT response. Everything since that moment has been a blur and out of respect, will not discuss much other than to say that seeing Ava's reaction to the news has been the most difficult thing to witness yet as a parent. I am with everyone on all sides of the family who are grieving right now as he is truly loved and missed. I had this post already started with the intent of honoring him for making Saturdays success a reality which is why I am even able to write though not really. This is a very intense time for all so to those who pray, I would like to ask that you please do and especially for his grandchildren.


Dann Cianca said...

Sorry, Paul. :(

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Paul~LB

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry, Paul...I understand, because my grandchildren are having to deal with my husband's cancer..and I can't imagine them in this situation...so sorry for them, for you, for him, for all involved. I pray for peace, and comfort for all of you. Remember, he encouraged your work, so take some time off, but not for long. This is Diana Manning . just didnt' want to sign in so I'm anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Srry for the loss Paul. Prayers to all involved. Doug26 oye

Mak Porter said...

Paul, I'm very sorry to hear about Dan passing away. Praying for Ava, you, his wife, and the entire family.

Suz said...

I just read this, I am so sorry for you and Ava
and yes your love for him is clear
I will include you all in my prayers for God to bring you comfort in some way