I took my dads shrine apart and transported it to Bisbee, Az in July. I began working very early in the day as the afternoons became much to hot to stay outside, though I spent long days anyway, working at this transition. As I was setting up my dads shrine I realized I would need more time to prepare the area, more time for the moment. I cleared the path of leaves. I watered the 3 old oaks that shade my dad and Billy. Billy’s marker has been there a long time, but I do not know him. My dad would like having Billy near by.
I tried to stay under the oak trees shade as much as possible, paying attention to the sun and where and what times different areas were shaded. The oaks made working outside lovely and cool, though it was still very hot. The path I am building has put me almost out of the range of tree shade. I will have to work shorter hours when I am not relieved from the sun by the trees.
I scrounged up all of the old brick I could find, hiking up and down the hill, so I could lay a brick path for folks walk to my dads shrine and Billy’s marker. I chose the exact spot to put my dads shrine and I then only moved it once, to its current spot. The walk to the shrine is much more difficult than I thought and I built only part of the brick path, so please no leaving any rocks for my dad until I am finished with the path.
I felt something I cannot name when I moved my dads place from my back yard in San Francisco to Arizona; from the cloudiness and coolness of the Bay area, to the high desert, to monsoon rains and humid afternoons, to a place my dad would recognize.
I will continue to write about the process of readying my dads shrine, for guests with rocks.
If you are ever in Bisbee, Arizona, I invite you to go to the art piece: “Arizona, Rock Shrine for my Father”. You can choose to leave a rock or not, but if possible please take a picture and send it to me. I will post it here along with your name.
Bisbee has many public stairs and the stairs you need to use are located on the corner of Mayer and Garden Avenues. These directions could change as I am not yet in Bisbee and am directing from memory. I will repost them if there are any changes. It is best to go during the day light hours, because you will have to walk on steep desert floor to get to the rock shrine. This shrine is on private property and has permission of the owners, (if anyone asks), but try not to disturb anyone in the houses.
This is a shrine, so walk quietly watching where you walk, as there is a lot of life on the desert floor that can be sharp and pointy. You should wear boots, but of course sometimes this is not possible, so go see it even if you are wearing tennis shoes, it is doable. Walk to the end of the stairs, loop up and you will see there is a break in the stair case, walk to the break, look right and about 15 feet, you will find the rock shrine next to Billy’s head stone, under the live oak trees. Was Billy a pet? I am not sure.
When my father was dying 2005/2006 I spent a lot of time with him in Arizona where he lived for his grown life. While we were hanging out, going to this appointment and that appointment, I told him I would build a “Rock Shrine” for him when he died, assuming I had time and it would be many years later. Only months later, nearer to his death in May 2006 he reminded me he still wanted the Rock Shrine. I collected rocks from Arizona while my dad was still alive and spent time researching the adobe. Soon after he died, I made a California adobe, from my backyard soil. I used chicken wire as the frame and added rocks on top of my homemade adobe. I took my idea of a shrine from the Kiva ovens used by the Natives in Arizona and New Mexico. I built the rock shrine, leaving an opening at the top, like the ovens, so that the candle smoke could escape. Although, the first “Arizona Rock Shrine for My Father”, built in San francsico, California, has a spot for a candle, this second, Bisbee Arizona incarnation, will be altered to catch water or direct water to be caught.
June 26th, 2011