(Originally posted on April 7, 2017)
The Northern Lights forecast that I check periodically.
Late on the evening of March 29, 2017, somewhere around 11:00 pm, I was compelled to check a website that I check off and on, throughout the year. I am not sure why I was prompted to check this site on that night but I did. As you can see in the picture above, the forecast for Wednesday night was a 6! That never happens! Or rarely does it happen. Or, I never see the rating that high. A 6? Really?!? That means, here in southern New Hampshire, I might be able to see the northern lights above the horizon line, like in the sky, over my head! I was so excited to see what I could see.
I grabbed my camera, my Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi, and my tripod, and I took to the yard. It was a perfectly clear night. No moon. Lots of stars. No clouds. A very light breeze. It was gorgeous.
I set the camera on the tripod, I set my camera to manual focus, and set the shudder to be open for 30 seconds per picture to better capture the light from above. I have tried this before, and I have taken some decent (maybe) pictures of the lights. I am not that good at this stuff, but I can’t really explain how awesome it is to be outside just trying to capture the beauty that is the immense night sky. Truly, I stood looking up at the sky, and without question, I was one in awesome wonder.
I took pictures until after 1am. Little did I know, that in those very moments, a dear woman was being called home. My first wife, Sue Kotowski Beal, was sitting with her mother, Vivian Kotowski, right to the end. At 3:37am, dear Vivian took her last breath here on earth. I found out about Vivian later on that day (March 30). Honestly though, as I sang the words to hymns quietly to myself while I watched the skies changing before my eyes, and I stood in the darkness, praising God, I felt close to heaven. I couldn’t help but think of these words from scripture, “suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying”… welcome home Vivian, welcome home. It was quite the welcome, I just didn’t know it at the time.