Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Special Kind of Hell

I haven't written a whole lot since Winter passed into Spring. I think my optimism overshot my reality. As has been my habit for most of my life, I have spent the Summer wishing for Fall. I know nearly everyone else seems to find summer this great time of being outdoors and loving the long days. For me it has always been a struggle with the heat, the humidity, the bugs, and all the vacation-ish stuff. In the past decade, Nancy and I have had one true vacation, and it was made a hundred times better by NOT happening during the summer.

In short, Summer heat makes me a grump.

I try hard not to take it out on folks, but more often than not, I fail. The ones closest to me know it all to well. When the thermometer hits 80 and the humidity makes everything stick to itself, that's when I start to fall apart.

Last year, I spent a good chunk of July racing back and forth to doctors and hospitals, trying to figure out why my heart kept freaking out. This year, we managed to keep me out of the emergency room by keeping my activity levels lower on the hottest days of summer. We even installed a small room air-conditioner in our living room to help keep me cool during the day.

The biggest imact though, was in my photography. For the most part, I photographed zilch this summer. I stopped shooting on a daily basis back in June. Three months of only shooting occasionally and I felt like I was losing my mind. I would forget little stuff. I did a shoot a few days ago and forgot to check my ISO... got home and found that I had been shooting a very normal setting at ISO 1600. Not many of the images were worth keeping. Little stuff. Just out of practice.

Fast forward to last week: the heat finally broke and with it, plenty of rain. I know most people aren't terribly excited about rain. I love it. I always feel better. A good thunderstorm makes me downright giddy. Throw in some wild winds and torrential rain and I am thrilled beyond words.

Last week I spent one day at a hearing in Syracuse and another day meeting with a surgeon in Rochester. Two days with long drives and high anxiety. Trying to explain all the in's and out's to Nancy and Aurora after dinner each night was nigh on impossible. One night, Nancy and I went out to the studio to talk a little more. In part, I wanted to try some new ideas out with my wireless flash units. More in part because we needed time to talk, time to cry, and just time to be together.

As I was setting up, I shot these two images.

I think they say more than my words can say.

Summer has been hard.
This last year has been hard.
We keep pushing onward, but it's hard.


  1. It's hard, but you're getting beautiful art out of it. That second picture of Nancy is probably my favorite one of her that you've shot.

  2. so very real- these do say so much.
    I hope there is some good news in your life and some peace of mind.
    She is a beauty your Nancy.

  3. Meredith, There is always some good news, usually interspersed with the bad. This summer it has been so chaotic, so tense and frustrating that it is hard to see all the positive good things that have come along too. We started June off with dinner very nearly every night, with friends and family. We haven't had many dinner guests over the past few years. This was a welcome surprise. As June turned into July, my flexibility and patience dropped to new lows. As a result, so did our dinner dates. Just didnt have the energy to deal with everything involved. So we let it slide. What we didnt expect was the impact that would have on our well-being.

    Truth be told, we need our friends. If for no other reason than they help keep us on an even keel. Their lives, as whacked as they might be, help give us hope and their positive outlook helps buoy our spirits when things look bleak.

  4. Thanks Dana. Photographing Nancy is wild. There are times when she is a total goof, and other times where her fear of the lens is far too obvious. What I love is that moment when her real face appears and all pretense is shed. That vulnerability is so tangible.

  5. I know, we are battling bugs here on this side of the lake and also the hot drought caused problems for our rain is a relief, and I am gonna DESTROY those bugs....take care amigo and take care of yourself :)

  6. Alex- how true.
    We have had nights where we just grab a bottle of wine and pick-up the phone.
    Can we come over we have wine and drak chocolate and so far no one has turned us away.
    The relief of a drink and laughter has given me back more then I can ever say.
    You are so so right sometimes all you need is to lean.

  7. ahh Gary, I wish we were fighting bugs in our garden. We gave up this year after putting in a veggie plot 1/10th the size we normally make. Then 4 deer and a woodchuck decimated it in one night. Done. Gone. No coming back. At that point I just gave up.

    Great seeing you at the Ithaca Artists Market.
    I really need to stop by your studio during one of your open houses. It's been too long since we've been able to talk.

  8. Meredith-
    I shared this with Nancy last night after I read it. I had tears in my eyes.

    You've been through so much in a few short years... it isnt fair and at the same time, it's impossible to complain to anyone who can change anything. Your fortitude and kindness amazes me.

    That you have managed to keep a studio going and keep your family on an even keel through everything, says it all.