This is my favorite photo of the dearly departed Jeremy Ayers. It was taken by Jason Thrasher and published in his book, Athens Potluck. I owe so much to Jeremy and now that he is gone, I can't believe it. I have reoccuring dreams in which he returns--and I learn that he was merely on a secret jaunt. I find myself confessing that I missed him so much, that I'm less than whole without him.
I think of Jeremy as my guru. I mean, certainly he was a friend. But the place he has in my life is much bigger than that of a friend because I looked up to him so much. He showed me, by how he lived, that life could be wonderful. Therefore I followed his lead in most everything. When he died, I felt a spiritual vacuum inside myself. I mean, this was quite strange, because when he was alive I didn't realize quite how much I depended on him. It took me a long time to find my feet again.
One of the things I loved most about Jeremy was his sense of style. He cultivated what the Japanese call wabi sabi in all he touched, but especially his house. Wabi sabi translates to "rustic nature." It captures the Buddhist principles of imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness. His house exemplified his style. Note the faded, cracked and peeling paint, the way the garden grows with not much pruning, and the way nothing is straight.
Picasso said, "It takes a very long time to become young." Being childlike was another of Jeremy's virtues. You can see it in his stance, his smile, and believe me when I tell you that the whimsical was never far away. Any and all of Edward Lear's poetry could be recited with total ease.
Astra Taylor wrote, "To be with Jeremy was to be constantly reminded of the aesthetic splendor that surrounds us or that could be summoned at will. He would marvel at an unusual shadow or pattern of light, thrill at a play of words or a strange sound, or pay tribute to someone's bold or outlandish sartorial choice. He appreciated flair—in creative expression, conversation, and dress—and had a wonderful ability to see the quotidian as sublime. In his presence, the world became magic, the everyday enchanted."