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Autumn is in full gear here in Oregon. The maple leaves have displayed their golden to bright red finery. The oaks are yellowing and rimmed in brown, just waiting to fall off in the next best of winds. Some leaves have already left their place from the mother branches. I have not begun my Fall racking yet. Though some of my neighbors have begun the annual ritual. 


Another ritual of the human kind is more important for now in this season of my life. I observe the loss of my elderly father's world, leave him ever so slowly, one word, by another word; or the loss of another meaningless action he can no longer do. He will ask me what is this object he is eating, which turned out today to be 'peaches.' Or, he will forget to use the fork to eat the apple pie. Just little things like this happen more frequently than they did in the past. If you met him, he can still carry a conversation, to some extent. So he is not totally 'gone' yet. You will learn quickly though, your conversation will only go so far. 


Watching him loose a bit more of his self is like the watching of leaves falling off trees in the Autumn. A few here, and few there, drift down magically until a storm of kind blows them down in droves. In the illustration above, I try to capture what is the slow loss of words in the elderly. I use the image of a small child trying to grab the words they are looking for. A "monster" stops the child from speaking, just as dementia can and does stop the adult from speaking. Words are golden tools humans use to make our world. The "letters" I use are blackened and mis-shaped. They lay distorted and mis-layed in the brain. Blackness swirls in the place of the words that a person is looking for. Words are flying away from conscious memory like moths from a light that was just turned off. A ghost remains of where a person once belong. I stayed with the colors of Autumn to reinforce the feeling of a time of letting go. Autumn is a sad time after the glories of Summer.