It is with sadness that I tell you that Jan Carroll, my longtime close friend and blogger partner died December 22 after battling lung cancer for many months. Not only did Jan grace these pages with her remarkable photographs, she was, as she dubbed herself, my EB on the blog- for editor bitch. Among her many talents, she knew spelling and grammar & would catch anything dodgey or suspect. But mostly, and in general, she knew style.

Needless to say I relied on her. Truth be told though, her photographs kept me going with AT2 more than anything else. We started two years ago and I didn’t know what I was doing really, but Jan, I found out, knew all things blogisphere.

Even though she downplayed the artistry of her photographs, everyone who saw the blog loved them. Her eye speaks for itself. My brother Rob, a visual artist, said Jan had what they used to call in art school, the extra dimension. That unexplainable element of composition, color, subject. A singular point of view. The composition, the angle, the otherwise unseen. My friend Lesley Valdes said that even though she never met Jan, there seems to be so much of her in her photographs. I bugged her many times to consider a book of her photographs, trying to convince her it was unique that she actually nurtured the flora and fauna before she photographed it.

And really that was Jan in so many ways. There was so much of her in everything she did. If you were lucky enough to be her friend you basked in the hugeness of her art, heart and of her mind. Looking back, I can say with certainty that Jan altered the way I thought about the world, natural and otherwise.

I can’t even begin to remember all of things that she and her husband Steve have done for me over the years. But the biggest gift of all has been their friendship and love. Unwavering and sincere.

The other thing you could only envy was Jan’s remarkable wit and her ability to laugh at herself. She laughed at others as well, but if were her friend, she never would be cruel. Honest, perhaps, but never a cheap shot. It is the compassion that she showed for others and other species is something that will always be with us in spirit.

This photo of Jan with beloved Frieda, her frenzied wired-haired fox terrier who we all came to love in the 70s. This was taken around the time I used to hang out with her at her parents’ pool in Springfield- we used to practice dives. I would try the fancier stuff and she would tell me where I was off. Jan always did the same launch –a pretty flawless arrowpoint dive.

Goodnight dear, dear friend, you taught me so much more about true hearts, minds and dives.