Summer Solstice

July 21, 2022. Today is the “official” start of Summer here in the northern hemisphere. For many that means long summer days, warm relaxing eveningss, summer festivals, ice cream, beach days, camping, and more. And those can be good things, and definitely enjoyable. 

Today it hit home that 6 months ago was the dead of winter – one of the coldest, snowiest winters we’ve had on record. Spring was unseasonably cool with near record-breaking rainfalls and flooding. Most years we’ve had plenty of warm sunny days, but not this year. Its frustrating – after 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns and restrictions that came with it, FINALLY in early 2022 things started opening up again, it seems like for good this time. And despite that, the lack of “summer weather” this year has really put a damper on things.

And while most people are excited about the “start of summer” today I struggle to feel positive. As usual, it’s a few layers of things that all just piled up on me today. 

  1. Today is a Tuesday. This past weekend was my city’s annual summer fair – finally back after 2 years due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was a lot of fun! – I was supremely busy with my photography, especially shooting the live music on the main stage. However the main acts played until 11:00pm, and I didn’t get home until midnight. I’m used to being in bed well before 9:00pm because I get up early for my day job, so lack of sleep is definitely a factor
  2. This weekend was incredibly hot, which when we’ve had unseasonably cool weather for much of the year made it feel even hotter than it was. On top of this, the place I’m living at had the AC crap out, so even though I was exhausted, trying to sleep in a hot room definitely didn’t help
  3. Thursday, Friday, and Monday were extremely busy at my day job, which adds to the exhaustion
  4. Today was also another busy day. The weather was much cooler than the past week, with gusty wind and cold rain – the type of weather that makes me feel miserable even under the best of circumstances… which these definitely were not!

All this just reminds me that as far as daylight hours go, this is as good as it gets. 16 hours of daylignt, 8 hours of night. Soon the days will be getting shorter again, and the nights will get longer. We’re nearly halfway through the year, and I know I’ve felt like a zombie for a lot of it. Many days I’d get home from work with no energy or motivation to do ANYTHING other than merely exist. It feels like I’ve gotten the short end of the stick. And part of me feels like I’m just whining and complaining (which I am), and that others have been through much worse this year (I know people who have lost loved ones this year, some have lost more than one). 

Today I’m just feeling really low. Yes, I know part of it is sheer exhaustion. But I also know that it’s been a really tough grind the past 6 months or so. I’m just tired of feeling exhausted. I’m tired of getting up every morning and feeling like I’m defeated even before my feet hit the floor. I’m tired. And I’m tired of being tired. 

But in true Phoenix style, I can’t end on a dark note. I just can’t. I have to throw something positive in here before I close this out. The positive? Let’s go back to the weekend. Hot? Lots of people, lots of noise, lots of chaos? Absolutely. Was it almost too much to handle? At times, yes – I had several moments of “I want to run away and escape the chaos”. BUT I persevered, put on my “extroverted, outgoing, talkative” persona and took a ton of photos. I asked the festival organizers for an “all access” pass – meaning I could go pretty much anywhere and everywhere with my camera. My main goal was to be able to photograph the headline music acts both evenings, as well as some of the more local bands. And you know what? I was able to talk to both headline bands face to face, and ask for permission to shoot right from the stage. For those who may not be aware, this is a HUGE deal. Many bands will only allow photographers to shoot from the front of the crowd, and only for the first few songs. They don’t want the distraction, they don’t want someone else on stage possibly getting in the way or being a distraction (to the musicians or to the audience). And I get that. So I was hugely appreciative that BOTH headline bands allowed me to shoot from the stage, as well as in front of the security barriers (aka between the crowd and the stage), for the entire performance! This allowed me to get some pretty awesome shots, some even of the musicians “hamming it up” for the camera which made me laugh… but it also made me feel appreciated, trusted, and valued, instead of someone being ‘tolerated” for encroaching on their space. 

I have literally thousands of pictures to sort through from this weekend, get them edited, and then sent out to all the various performers. Eventually I’ll set up some new galleries on my website to show off some of the bands I saw here:

but I’ll put up a few below just because I can!

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