Friday, May 6, 2016


image of moss that provoked musings about alzheimer's
My hands ache from the power washer. I am cold and wet. I have cross-threaded the hose and the intake which allows huge amounts of water seep from the machine like piss from a soggy diaper. Even so, the power washer is a brutal force and I am battered from its vibrations and spray.

I am waging war on moss. A bright green softness that has oozed across the walkway leaving a beautiful spring-toned fog where stone should be. The powerwasher slices through the thin layer of moss on the walkway like a scalpel, each pass leaving the thinnest thread of bare stone. I work frantically, pass after pass ripping through the moss that seems to dig deep into every recess, every purchase, every corner. I can't stop and I just can't clear the moss from large enough areas to rid the walkway of the beautiful treachery.

Just feet away, my uncle sits in front of a tv waging his own war on the fog that clings to his mind as stubbornly rooted as the moss on his front steps. And slippery. Memories slide from underfoot with shocking ease; one minute a sharp edge from his past, the toe-hold of a story, then a blur and the vague descent into a depth from which words cannot emerge. And in his eyes, something like fear and the knowledge that the moss grows back as fast as he can blast through to lay bare the thoughts that are dulling beyond recognition.

I pause to stretch and consider my progress. Looking up, I see my uncle at the head of the walkway considering my progress. "That's a big job," he says, abruptly pulling himself back behind the door and into the living room where the cable tv news is on a steady, evergreen repeat cycle. I can still see him standing there while the news seeps into the walkways of his mind leaving a faint mark like a footprint on spongy moss.