I lost one of my best friends on Friday May 31, 2013.
His name was Carl Young. Carl was killed doing what he loved, researching tornadoes in ElReno, Oklahoma. On that day and on so many others, Carl was on a mission to collect important weather data with his Twistex (Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in/near Tornadoes Experiment) mentor and close friend Tim Samaras as well as Tim’s son Paul Samaras. Tim and Paul were also killed.
The unfortunate circumstances surrounding that day have flooded my world, through social media as well as news networks and morning talk shows. It has been surreal. But, I have to believe that what Mrs. Samaras said at Tim and Paul’s memorial service is right, that something good has GOT to come of all of this.
I met Carl in 2011 when a photo of a funnel cloud that I had taken appeared to him, intriguing him into sparking up a conversation with me. We were instantly mesmerized by each other. I was very curious about extreme weather and meteorology and he was always willing to explain things to me. He was as equally curious with me and my art, my photography and most especially my writing. We fell deeply in love and experienced much happiness together. Although the romantic relationship between us became a part of our shared past, Carl and I remained close friends. The bond we cultivated was a deep and lasting one.
A funny remembrance that I will never forget about Carl is how he gave me his phone number. He sampled lines and words from a selection of my poetry and gave me a sort of puzzle to decode. (Example: Number of lines in your poem titled “ We Sleep”, and Amount of times the letter L is used in the last line of your poem “The Weight of Truth”?) He was so thoughtful and witty. He was absolutely fascinating.
We spoke often of life and of death, of coincidence and of fate. Carl was a spiritual man, an avid Depeche Mode and Philip Glass connoisseur, a gentle being. A kind soul, my twin soul.
Carl meant so much to me. Without his love and support I would have never given up smoking cigarettes. It was something I had struggled with for a long time. I gave them up for love. It was with him, under the tree in Lake Tahoe on my birthday in 2011 where I smoked my last one.
He was all things good to me and I thank God for him being in my life…for the short time we were given.
A tidal wave of memories have come rushing back to me over this past week. I am truly saddened by my inability to follow through on a promise that I made. I don’t remember what sparked the topic, but during one of our deepest conversations, Carl had asked me if I would speak at his funeral. This was a serious request on Carl’s behalf, as he told me that he wanted me to speak about him because I knew him in ways that no one ever got to know him. My response was something along the lines of “Yes, of course, I would…but that won’t be for a very long time.”
I am unable to be at Carl’s memorial services tomorrow. To be honest, even if I were able to be there… I don’t think I could bring myself to speak. So, how am I to come through on keeping my promise? How can I share parts of him with you as he had asked me to?
I keep coming back to art. Carl was a talented and creative photographer as well as a poet. His art is stunning and hauntingly beautiful…he would want me to share it with you.
The first two shots were taken by Carl took whilst researching tornadoes in 2011.
The last photographs come from shared memories between us. I treasure them.
The following images are personal photo memories of Carl and I.
Dedicated to: Carl’s Mom, Dad’s and Family. Please accept my deepest sympathies.
If you would like to send condolence cards to Carl’s Family please send correspondence to:
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158