Summertime Blues

The emotional swells of summer have arrived.  The coming months are marked with waves of weekend trips, life affirming events and invaluable time spent with friends and family.  The reality of catching this summer surf is the inevitable crash of the unavoidable work week. 

Riding in the pocket of a weekend is an amazing feeling of presence. It’s only natural that staring at your computer screen to bang out some work the week after brings the crushing weight of that wave down upon your soul. There is no number of coffees or desk yoga sessions can seem to pull you up from these sinking lows.  And so, we brace for the ebbs and flows of the summertime blues.

Bill Hamilton, Cotton’s Point, California 1966
Bill Hamilton, Cotton’s Point, California 1966

What's in a name

Blue is the colour of humanity. It seems to absorb any emotion we can throw at it. It’s the colour of both despair and serenity.  It’s considered a cool colour, meaning the hue recedes from our view.  We fall into it, chase after it, and most of the time we don’t see it at all.

Blue was the last colour we discovered and named. Many languages still use the same word for both blue and green.  For early cultures it went unnamed altogether.  The ancient Greeks didn’t recognize it as its own hue, treating it as a shade of grey. In Homer’s writings he could only refer to the sea as ‘dark’.

This lateness of recognition is due to the colour being both omnipresent and historically difficult to replicate.  It’s one of the rarest colours in nature, showing up in only handful of birds and flowers. Up until recent chemical breakthroughs, creating rich blue paints or dyes was exclusive to small pockets around the world. Blue was a colour we held for the gods; Jupiter, Krishna, Odin, and the colour of Mary’s cloak.  Blue is other-worldly and just beyond our grasp.

Blacks Beach, California 1965
Blacks Beach, California 1965
Yet blue is also everywhere. It frames our views in bodies of water and in the distant sky.  Believe it or not, we are taught that the sky is blue.  If you ask a child who hasn’t yet been corrupted, they will tell you the sky is clear, or that the sky has no colour at all.

Singing The Blues

Blue represents a music genre that is the epitome of sadness.  At the same time it's the worlds preferred colour (two out of five people say their favorite colour is blue). People connect to the songs of blues musicians not because of its sadness but its beauty and soul.

The summer blues are not the crashes, but the waves. There will be highs and lows. You can’t stop the waves from coming, might as well learn to surf. 

Dicky Moon, Blacks Beach, California 1965
Dicky Moon, Blacks Beach, California 1965


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