Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Blankets Made by Dead People

By Darvell Hunt

Three of my most-prized possessions are blankets.

My maternal grandmother, who died in 1976, made my first prized blanket. My mom passed it onto me about three years ago. It's so old and worn that it has a hole that you can put your fist through, but I don’t care.

My paternal grandmother gave the second one to me for graduation from high school. I used this blanket throughout much of my college career. The maker of this blanket died last year, but I still snuggle with it on the couch to keep warm on cold Utah mornings.

The third is an afghan knitted by my mother about five year ago. It was, as far as I can tell, the last craft item made by my mother before scleroderma destroyed the use of her hands and cancer destroyed the use of her body. She passed from this world in 2006.

It’s truly an amazing feat to leave something behind so valued by others when you depart this earth.

I also enjoy books by dead people. The plot of a 1989 movie starring Robin Williams was about enjoying the writing of poets who had since died.

Artists, including writers, can become almost immortal by creating works that live well beyond their bodies. Think of Shakespeare, Mozart, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Picasso, Mark Twain, or even Homer of ancient Greece. These people no longer breathe air, but yet they still breathe life into the lives of those who continue to enjoy their works.

Some people create art for fame, others for money, but the truly great artists create their works for the love of their craft. These people are remembered for their art because what they created goes well beyond pigment on canvas, ink on paper, or the blowing of wind through a musical instrument.

The Bible says that faith without works is dead, but I also contend that life without works of art is dead. May our lives be full of art, full of life, and full of purpose, so that when we are gone, the world will be a better place for having hosted our existence.


Annette Lyon said...

I love the concept of leaving a legacy behind--and warming others after I'm gone, whether it's with a blanket or words I've written. Thanks for the great post.

Darvell Hunt said...

Thanks for your comments, Annette. I really do believe that the great writers and other artists of times past have immortalized themselves such that they are still here, in a way, alive and well on earth.

It's humbling to think that WE might be able to do that.