"In the hinterlands of Pommerania, there is a mountain made of the hardest diamond. It's one hour deep into the earth, one hour up toward the sky, one hour long and one hour wide. To this mountain comes a little bird, once every hundred years, to sharpen its beak. And when this bird has worn away the whole mountain, the first second of eternity has passed."
I shall now recount the tale of my adventures, beginning with my abounding optimism that when my wisteria bloom, all is right with the world.
In my younger days, this season might have found me in a coffee shop with free wifi, attempting to defeat the forces of an obsolete version of MS Windows and write my novel. Younger still, I might have been in the recreation room of Mom and Dad’s split level, watching an after school special about how being reunited with one's lost puppy is a metaphor for finding meaning and purpose amid the chaos spawned by evil forces inhabiting the shadows beneath one’s bed.
The next time my wisteria blooms, I might be outside gardening downwind of the fragrant blooms of my white counter-clockwise twining Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria Sinensis) and appreciating life. The purple wisteria pictured here is in the front yard, and is the clockwise twining Japanese Wisteria (wisteria floribunda). Or, I might be meeting with my psychiatrist to unpack the formless fears engendered by a bad case of Alien Abduction Syndrome compounded with looming tendrils of senility.
What these glimpses of remembered past and imagined futures have in common – besides Lent and wisteria – are that they probably manifest some underlying dysfunction in the way I see the world and/or in which the world sees me. Last night, Tech Support Guy told me that atrial fibrillation has been associated with increased risk of Alzheimer’s and so have cold sores. This depresses me almost as much as if I experienced dramatically foreshadowing visions of, say, rafters dripping with blood.
Then it occurs to me that there is a positive side to losing one’s mind. One reason I am not visited by gloomy forebodings these days, is that with age comes acceptance. Also, thanks to my hearing impairment, the moaning of ghosts in the shadows outside my window no longer disturbs my rest.
The prospect of a fathomless future spent in a skilled nursing facility with a semi-deaf roommate who believes in heaven and hell, and swears that Lawrence Welk is alive and ageless scares the crap out of me. But like Grandma once said, the good thing about dementia is that the victim doesn’t know it. She might as well have said I may have Alzheimer’s but at least I don’t have Alzheimer’s.
So remember when you visit: my glassy-eyed unfocused stare and the perpetual dribble of drool at the corners of my mouth may frighten you, but inside my own head, I’m actually imagining that I am in an episode of Pigs in Space where Link Heartthrob proposes marriage and I accept. Which may not be such a bad place to spend eternity waiting for the wisteria to bloom, or for a sharp-beaked bird to wear down a mountain.