Why I’ve Been Gone

Hi everyone.  Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for over a week, but I had a reason for that.  I got a call late last week that my dad was very sick and in the hospital, so I rushed out to California along with most of the rest of my dad’s tiny family to see him.  I’m glad I did because I had a chance to spend a few days with him before he passed away on Tuesday night.  As you might imagine, it wasn’t a very fun experience and blogging most definitely took a backseat to making sure my dad’s last few days were comfortable and then dealing with the immediate aftermath of his death.  It might take me a little while to get back to a more regular blogging schedule as there are still a lot of things to deal with that will take a lot of time, but I’ll post when I can.  But first, let me tell you about my dad and his role in making me the person I am today.

Dad and me at Broadmoor

My dad and me at the Broadmoor, the fancy 5 star hotel in Colorado Springs

My dad was one of the biggest supporters of my interest in insects from the very beginning.  I decided I wanted to be an entomologist before I was old enough to drive, so my dad took me out collecting all the time.  Most summer weekends that my family didn’t spend in the mountains of Colorado collecting minerals or fishing, my dad’s two favorite hobbies, I spent with my dad collecting insects.  He’d drive up to two hours to take me somewhere really cool to collect.  I am 100% sure that my dad was scared of most insects, but still he took me collecting. He was awesome like that.  Plus, if I saw something really cool and told him about it, he would get all excited about it.  He had very little interest in insects in general, but he would get excited about them just for me.

Dad at Yellowstone

My dad, looking on as my sister did her Park Ranger walk in Yellowstone

My passion for dragonflies is a direct result of my dad’s willingness to nurture the entomological tendencies of his elder daughter.  He would drive me three towns over to a big lake with a lot of dragonflies so I could collect.  It was the best place to collect dragonflies because you could hide in the cattails, using them as a little odonatological duck blind.  If you watched the dragonflies for a while, you could learn their flight patterns and choose the exact perfect moment to strike out with the net from your hiding place in the cattails.  I had a very high success rate there, and I loved that I had FAR more dragonflies in my collection than anyone else who did collections for the 4-H entomology project.  Collecting dragonflies with my dad was what made me love them.  If he hadn’t done that, I’m sure I would not be the Dragonfly Woman.  Heck, I might not even be an entomologist.

Dad at Pali

My dad at the Pali Overlook on Oahu. My dad always had a thing for nice views, and that was a particularly nice one!

I decided that I wanted to do a Ph.D. shortly after deciding I wanted to be an entomologist.  My dad was the reason why I thought that Ph.D. was so important.  He got his master’s degree and began his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.  He didn’t finish it, however, and told me many times that that was one of the greatest regrets of his life.  I wanted to get a Ph.D. in part because I knew it would be important for what I wanted to do, but also because I wanted to finish my doctorate for my dad.  I am currently close to finishing, and I would have liked to have been able to tell my dad that I was done.  However, I am now more determined than ever to finish.  My dad was so proud of everything I did and even if he’s not here to cheer me on, I am confident that he would have been ecstatic to see me finish my degree.

Dad's favorite photo

The spider photo my dad loved – you’ll read about this shortly

And finally, I owe my interest in cameras to my dad.  He bought an awesome camera in the late 70’s so he could learn how to take photos of minerals.  He never got all that great at it because he never really understood how it worked, but we had a great camera with a macro lens my entire life.  I might never have even known it was possible to take close up photos of things without that camera and my very first macro photos were taken with it.  I splurged and bought my first macro capable camera, a Nikon Coolpix 995, soon after I started grad school.  That camera opened up a whole new world to me, a world that I shared with my dad by sending him shots via e mail.  His enthusiasm for my photos encouraged me to improve.  My dad went over a decade without using a camera much at all, but then I showed him how to use my little Nikon by taking a photo of a jumping spider on our house in Colorado when I was home for a visit.  It was just a poorly focused snapshot (that’s it up at the start of the paragraph), but he reminded me of it all the time.  He would say, “Remember that time you took that photo of that spider on the house?  You could see EVERY HAIR on its legs.  Wow!”  I gave him that camera when I bought a second one and it renewed his interest in photography.  I gave him the second one when I upgraded to my Canon G11.  And when my second Coolpix finally died on him, my dad got a Canon G12 because he knew I loved my G11.  He adored that camera.  It was something that my dad and I talked about a lot, something that we enjoyed together even though he had moved to California and I didn’t get to see him as often anymore.  That camera is sitting on my desk next to me at home as I write this.  I intend to put it to work come spring, and I’ll think about my dad every time I do.

Dad at Shoshone Lake

My dad taking a photo of me photographing Shoshone Lake in Yellowstone

I miss my dad terribly.  He was a really important part of my life and a person I truly enjoyed spending time with.  He shaped so much of who I am.  Still, I am grateful to have had such a wonderful father and even though I will miss him always, I carry a lifetime of memories.  I will cherish them always.

_______________

Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth
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63 thoughts on “Why I’ve Been Gone

  1. Hi Chris:

    So so sorry dear. What a fine fellow, your Dad.

    I ended Cazie’s life this morning, so am grieving too.

    Take good care girl. Write me when you are able.

    Best, bob

  2. C.L.
    I am so very sorry to hear about your dad. May your mind wander to happy memories while you settle among the cattails.
    ct

  3. So sad to hear about your Dad’s passing. Hoping the many good memories you have of him and his love for you, will comfort you.

    Deb M.

  4. You are the obviously the continuation of your father’s passion for nature. Good science requires passion so carry on w your
    Gift.

  5. So very sorry about this past week and the passing of your Dad. In fact, the first line made me tear up as I got a call almost 2 years ago to go to California, where I lost my dad. You have some amazing memories to remember and share, just the time it took for him to teach you the love of insects, and nature…priceless. Take good care of yourself…..

  6. Sorry to hear of your dad’s passing. Thanks for posting about him. He obviously was quite a guy. Keep your chin up and continue to make him proud of his wonderful daughter.

  7. Sincere condolences. Welcome back, but take your time and do what you have to do. Because of his support of you and your interests, our lives are also enriched.

  8. Dear, dear dragonfly woman, you have captured some wonderful memories of your dad that will help keep him close forever. We can all celebrate his life now through you! Thank you for sharing these glimpses of him. Your followers surround you and your family and wish you all the best during this difficult time.

  9. I am sorry for the loss of your father. You’ve written a beautiful tribute to him, and I hope you can get some comfort through the items and interests you both shared. My own father died in November, and as I type this, I’m wearing one of his enormous plaid flannel shirts.

  10. My condolences. The line, “He had very little interest in insects in general, but he would get excited about them just for me.” made me blink back tears. Great that you had such a loving and supportive father.

  11. I share to you my condonlences. I know it’s a hard time when we loose somebody that was a great part of us. But, and altough it’s hard to see, you can think like this: he isn’t gone, i’ts here, in you, in every little pieces that he shaped in you: your love for insects, your decisions in live, photography. In you and your memories. Hope the best for you in this harsh time.

    Kisses from Portugal

    Sofia G

  12. Condolences to you and your family. You’ve spoken about your father many times and it has been clear that he was an important influence in your life. Thank you for sharing these memories with us.

  13. I found this so moving that it is hard to not feel your pain; tears arose. Your homage to him is so tender, full of excellent memories, insightful, and full of a loving light. I sense he was exceptional as a human being. He clearly was at being your father. I am very sad for your loss, but you have been so fortunate. Thank you for this portrait. It would be lovely to hear more about him if you ever so choose. May your grief bring your even deeper love.

  14. So sorry to hear about your loss. He was certainly an inspiration in your life and you are lucky to have had him. Memories are what sustains us after those we love have passed from the scene. You have mnay wonderful memories of a fantastic and loving dad. My sincere condolences.

  15. i am sorry for your loss and inspired by the profound impact your dad had in your life. certainly he will always be a hero… and you have given your readers an opportunity to glimpse into the beautiful world of love and support that helped mold who you are today. for that, this particular reader is grateful. may your pain diminish and your fond memories multiply.

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