These images were taken during the fall of 1981. I was twenty-six years old at the time, working as an Artist in Residence in the Black Music Division at Bennington College. Bill was fifty-five, the age I am now. By the summer of 1982, I left Vermont for New York. Bill and I stayed in touch for a while, but I soon found that I needed to burn the Buddha in order to begin the process of finding my own voice/identity.
All of this, the searching/discipline, was something that Bill had taught, talked about at length and modeled on a daily basis. When I finally managed to get back to my mentor I had something to share, something that I had found on my own. At least that is what I have always thought.
What I missed at times, and what the grief and deep reflection of the past few days has solidly brought home, is that I have always been deeply connected with Bill since my student days, and still am. Japanese Buddhists talk about the path, being a seeker, and how, once you are on the path, you never leave it. You may wander off the well - worn road into the bushes but you are, in fact, always moving ahead, whether the way ahead is clear or not.
Bill got me started on something and I don't believe that I will truly ever be finished. And that is a good thing.
Thanks, Bill. I will always love you.
images of Bill Dixon & Stephen Haynes by Steven Albahari