A Farewell to J.D. Biggs

by Kevin T. Kelly

A quarter century ago I hitched a ride upon a comet. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, this ride would take me to the deepest recesses of inner space that I never even knew existed. Today we watch that wonderful, beautiful spark of light that touched us all so profoundly, streak out of sight, returning to his rightful place beyond the stars.  The latin term Rara Avis perfectly describes the essence of J.D. Biggs. The definition of Rara Avis is an uncommon, unusual or exceptional person or thing. It’s literal translation means “rare bird”. And indeed, that is exactly what Dan was.

I think he was most comfortable around children and dogs because their inherent nature was most like his. They both express unconditional love. His dogs Tiegan and later, Derry were his constant source of wonderment and delight. He loved his nephews Foster and Colin and spoke of them often. Adam and Ryan Ellis and my son Jack were his adopted nephews whom he loved as if they were his own sons.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had many conversations with friends and family regarding the paradox that was Dan Biggs. And while it’s impossible to fully comprehend the complexities and subtle nuances of any human being, our friend Leslie Shiels, I think came closest in decoding Dan. She said, “Dan projects the gruff exterior of a curmudgeon, but you know, his heart is so big that if he didn’t, the world would eat him alive.” And that my friends is the truth, for Dan was a man who lived by the courage of his convictions and loved with heart.

The words convention and conformity didn’t exist in his vocabulary. Nor did I ever hear him utter the phrase “I can’t”. Pretense and pomposity were abhorrent to him. Dan was a champion of the human spirit and a lover of life. He marched to the beat of his own peculiar drum and was truly a fringe dweller, in every sense of the word, with one foot tentatively placed in this less than perfect three dimensional world and the other firmly planted in another that most can only vaguely imagine.

His mind was a churning, seething cauldron of creative energy which sloshed and spilled out into every aspect of his life. Everything was grist for the mill and he continually searched for new outlets to satisfy an unquenchable creative thirst. He painted, drew, composed and played original music and wrote hilarious spoofs about the human condition. And when anyone ever asked him “why?”, he’d simply answer, “why not?”. Why not.

It’s my belief the people who have the greatest impact on your life are sent to you to teach specific lessons. And I learned a lot from Dan. Not only about myself, but of the divine interconnectedness of all things in the universe. We shared a bond so strong and so weird at times that it defies description. Heather Stormer lovingly referred to us as “twin sons from the same mothership”. From the moment I met him, I realized I’d met a kindred spirit plugged into exactly the same circuit and wavelength. Our thought processes were so attuned to the same frequency that we often finished each other’s sentences and when I was living 600 miles away in New York City, I would call to tell him what I was working on and he’d tell me he was working on the exact same ideas. We collaborated on everything from paintings and writings to formulating and codifying our understanding of the divine nature of inspiration and the creative process.

But more than anything else, Dan taught me the true meaning of friendship. He was always there without exception, during the good times and the bad. He always supported me when I needed it, congratulated me when I deserved it and called me out when I wouldn’t admit it. Dan Biggs was that exceptional friend that comes along once in a lifetime if a person is lucky.

A quarter century ago I hitched a ride upon a comet. And my life was changed forever.

Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam

J.D. Biggs

1964 – 2013

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