Usually, the newspaper has a perfunctory little story on the longest day of the year. It usually starts out with, "Today is the longest day of the year," or other such witty prose. Newspapers have a habit of repeating things incessantly like little children who have just learned a new word. Another repeated annoyance is the proclamation at the start of California's fire season. "This year is predicted to be the worst fire season on record." Every year is predicted to be the worst fire season on record.
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Vivid dreams. I go through phases. For months, my sleep is nothing more than a murky journey through a fogged looking glass. These are the peaceful nights of bliss, the nights of grainy, black & white. Then it all shifts into aerobic nights of tossing and turning—technicolor visions of the other side. It shifted into this phase the other night. During a peaceful dream the looking glass cracked and then shattered into a million pieces. I heard the shrill sound of the breaking crystal. It was as clear as could be. I awoke out of breath. The ceiling fan was silently rotating—its spinning blades looking like those of an army helicopter. I sat up and looked around. No broken glass here. But the shards were symbolic, the shift was complete. I knew I was entering a more active dream phase. The shadows of the moon were deep as I glided off like a bird of the night.
In a scratchy dream I learn to fly. In effortless propulsion I glide through air and space. "Why haven't I tried this before?" I ask myself. Somehow I reach an oasis of palms. Lanky and swaying, they acknowledge my arrival. They are rooted, yet free—something I make note of as I land on my feet and look up.
The equinox has passed. As days lengthen into summer the light surrounds the house with its daily dance. Every room is a stage, each one having its hour of performance as the sun moves from spot to spot. No two days are ever alike. No two performances are the same. The only thing certain is the sun itself. It is impossible to escape the sun inside or out during its peak months. Why even try?
Every walk has moments of insight—fissures in the quotidian facade. One step, another step, a drone of steps. The crunch of earth under foot is like the shaman's drum. The drum beats and magic swirls with the wind. Dreams give us clues. In dreams one lifts off the ground when walking. Walking becomes floating. Floating turns to soaring. Waking up after a soaring dream is ever a disappointment, as if being awake were actually the dream instead.
A few hours ago I'd woken from one of those long dreams that consumes the night like a glowing-hot fever. Before retiring for the evening, I'd put the finishing touches on today's image. My work has been getting darker as of late, both literally and emotionally. While working on it, the image felt dreamlike, a journey into shadow. It must have activated something because the dream was very much as you see it in the photo.
Dreams and photographs are of the same stuff. The surrealists knew this. To me, the act of photography is like dreamwalking. Tapping into the dream state while walking around with a camera isn't as hard as it might sound. The creative process itself is part dream, part reality, part substance, part essence.