Where ever we may be, the sun is shining on me and thee. The same sun, yours and mine, no matter how near or distant our houses may be. That sun warms, comforts, nurtures – much the same way that you (my dearest friend Mary Flowers) and I (your dearest friend Mary Jo Cartledgehayes have warmed, comforted, and nurtured each other for what is now more than forty years.
Forty. How can that be? And why do I feel as though if we'd blinked we'd have missed it. “Ars longa, vita brevia” - the Latin, constant believe that life is short and arts long. Today, January 8, 2012, the day I am completing this quilt, I understand the statement anew. Life – our lives – are long in the day-to-day; in experiences and creativity and curiosity and people loved steadfastly. Long in cute shoes, pretty dresses, leather jackets, blue jeans (remember the time we went somewhere and they wouldn't let us in because we were wearing jean? Jeans that cost $50 in 1979-ish? I think that was the night you put your purse on top of the car and we got in and started off and papers flew out like giant snowflakes in the dark). Long in places: Paris, even though we weren't there at the same time and London and Middle Bass and the Carolinas; bars and 24-hour breakfast places; baptisms, burials, weddings, Cookie Days, and the thousands of ordinary days (14,600 to be precise) that we have laughed our heads off, cried our eyes out, raged, ranted, run (remember running on East Main?) and sung.
Our lives are long in the counting of days and goodness, but they are also the blink of an eye. But art: here's the thing: art, even the oldest – Phoenician, Babylonian, cave paintings – or the famous: Mona Lisa, the crown jewels, the Daniel Morgan statue: art is long but art is frozen, forever frozen in the moment of its completion.
We have been a lot of things over the course of our amazing lives, but what we have not-not-not-not-not-not been is frozen. Those flames you saw dancing on my head when I was in the pulpit? Girl, those flames were dancing over your head, too, this whole time, since back when your dad christened you May-Ree and me May-Ree Jo. We are the brains in our heads. We are the wrinkles and scars on our bodies. We are the flame. And we are the dance. xxxooo Mary Jo