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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Cool rain in August, after the sun and heat of July.  The bay a sheet of dull gray metal, the sky a perfect match to it.  Now it gets dark again at night, and the days slip steadily toward autumn.  The wild blueberries are ripe and now almost over-ripe.  A bumper crop two years in a row, with warmth and moisture all timed perfectly for them, in alternate waves since early summer.

I love the return of darkness to our nights, and of weather that makes a sweater feel good in the morning.  I will miss the plunges into lake water, naked and dusty and sweating after work, but given the choice I will take the coolness.  The sauna will come back into use again by September, making a skinny-dip into the deepest lake in the Western Hemisphere thinkable for a couple more months.

The mosquitoes have eased, after a summer that – again like last summer – never really saw them get going.  One of our girls remarked wisely that when we get another normal summer of bugs around here, maybe next year, maybe the year after, it is going to be a rude awakening.  Yes indeed.

And the lake is up –the lake which we thought was perhaps down for good – conspiracy theories of our water robbed by the tar-sands denizens of Fort McMurray all swept aside at least for now, as the lake comes up and steadily keeps rising, even into early August.  It is matched by the river, full to its banks and flowing fast and white as it drops over the final miles into the lake.

I didn’t set out to say so much this morning.  Cool rain in August, after the sun and heat of July.  The bay a sheet of gray metal, the sky a perfect match to it.

Paul Rosset, 1956 – 2012

Paul loved the art and science of aviation. He loved airplanes, helicopters, torque wrenches, sparkplugs, rotor blades and propellers. He loved to talk about engines and compressions, airspeeds and approaches. Flying with Paul, sitting in a camp with Paul, or watching Paul work on a routine 50-hour inspection, I always learned something from him.
When the winds blow hard, a small aircraft is nothing more than an insect or a sparrow. Of course even a big airplane is nothing but a leaf in the wind when faced by the forces that move air and water and weather around this planet. Paul always took care to remind us just how delicate our machinery is, and how much it needs our care and attention to detail, in order to face the forces of nature.
When officials wade into the debris to investigate a tragedy, there is always talk of decision making. There are decisions that lead to other decisions, and those lead to the next and the next. In the cold light of analysis it is all too easy to view these chains of events as logical and direct and explainable, devoid of all the human side of our thought processes. But they are not.
The decisions Paul made that day in the Yukon led him along, moment by moment and mile by mile. We must remember this – Paul was not one to panic and he was not one to lose his cool. At some point he may have realized that he had no truly good options — a man who always seemed to make the careful correct decision, realizing that his options had become very few, and that all of them were bad.
But even then Paul would have continued to think and to decide. I believe that in those final seconds he was still thinking and deciding and acting, and that because of those final seconds and the choices he made, we are today mourning Paul, but the two people flying with him have survived. It was likely Paul who limited the scope of this tragedy. Hard words to say, but important — Paul and all of us can rest assured that to the very last split seconds of his life, he did his very best. When it came to flying and to turning wrenches, he expected no less of himself, and he expects no less of us who are still here.