I never intended for it to be an altar. It raised itself. Me, I have only just begun to open to my powerful relationship with death.
The crate sits in the spot where the prized guitar once rested. The guitar is touring Western Canada right now, taking the stage with the same joyous abandon as its new owner. And judging from the way music speaks to me at present, Beardo is now a joy roadie.
The crate – the altar – stands across from where I rest my head. Across from the spot where he left his body. Beside the bed, like the doctor with the fierce expression in her eyes.
The deity above the altar is a pencil drawing by a yoga teacher. She did not know it was Beardo until after her work was completed. She handed us the thin piece of paper as she went out into the warm Costa Rican night, headed for town. This deity – this image – is him, now. He is not physical, not tangible. No real picture need hang. He is the energy in this home, in the air. Lyrics in songs that take me by the chin. I look to him in the lines of a pencil.
The stone is my divining, used first as I unknowingly began to learn my craft. I picked it from Nana’s garden after she passed, along with several others. Carried it with me daily in my bag until it spoke that it wanted out. Wanted to act as the tool that pointed my way. I will use it again; this I know.
In the other corner stands a partial mushroom cap, attentively dried and marked by the hands of an old man that meant as much to my soldier, as Nana did to me. It feels like it burns from its corner of the altar, disproportionately held by me given the short period of time I knew this man’s grandson. It is the right to the left of Nana’s stone. Hands.
And in the middle – like lit incense – hovers obsidian. A tool for the cutting of chords. The unapology of being. I have been practicing, like wizard with wand. And I offer it up to the Beardo so that he can draft the wind. Keep going.
I didn’t intend to build an altar. I don’t worship. But I knew what had to stand in place of that guitar. And I know honouring now, like I did not before. Like a parent, I guide and narrate what is left of me – what grows – now that there is no body with which to commune. The pure of this man, as it moves (on). The paradox of being blessed by what my fingers cannot touch. And the work that I see. Boxes I set aside that now beckon.
I lift back lids. There is a woman inside.