The Cascade mountain range arches its back like a sleepy dragon from northern California to British Columbia. During the night our section of the North Cascades pushed head first up to low lying clouds scattering white precipitation onto its shoulders. This morning, between rain squalls the sun briefly highlighted this seasonal beauty.
Changing seasons means the vague purple shapes of summer become defined peaks and ridges as they accumulate a snow cap. The highest volcanic peak we can see from our home is Mt. Baker. It receives 150 inches of snow each year. That much snow never completely melts.
Short term memory loss, like the first snow, delineates aging. There is sudden awareness that we are not the same as we were ten, twenty years before. It may be a warning of seasonal change in our lives.
In I Remember Nothing Nora Ephron writes, “I have been forgetting things for years, but now I forget in a new way. I used to believe I could eventually retrieve whatever was lost and then commit it to memory. Now I know…whatever’s gone is hopelessly gone. And what’s new doesn’t stick.”
Dementia is “the general term used to describe various diseases and conditions that damage brain cells.” Not every senior develops dementia. Not every senior with dementia exhibits the same disabilities. We are unique and remain so in our decline.
Alzheimer's disease is the form of dementia most commonly recognized, but it is not the only manifestation.
Knowing the signs of the seasons allows us to prepare for the transition. If we plan to drive through a mountain pass in winter, we buy snow chains or change our car’s tires. Or, we can take our chances.