a few weeks ago i was at work, beginning my day in the same tired way i begin every day… sorting out the mornings appointment schedules. i was absolutely unenthused. there i was at my sad little desk, tasteless coffee to the left of me, sorting and stapling….stapling and sorting….a sip of hot nothing in between. and then suddenly and without warning a last name climbed off the page and grabbed my attention….[a sidebar is needed here because it is amazing to me how just one word can sometimes grab my attention so completely that i become completely immersed in another world?]
i begin scanning the schedule for more names that would stoke the fire….and much to my surprise there they were….happy to be seen,continuously popping out at me eager to be chosen. i had no clue what i was doing or where i was for that matter….but i was transported from Dullsville to someplace sparkly and full of falling snow. before i knew it i had the first few lines of a poem smiling back at me from their home on a lime green post-it note:
“The Snow Weaver bets on faith
of small children
with eager breath”
That’s as far as I got before the day slapped my ass back to Dullsville. But i kept returning to that sticky piece of paper throughout afternoon. Each time it conjured up a place in my imagination and for seconds at a time it felt like my day had not been entirely stolen from me. I felt like i had purpose as a human again. And the best part….. the coffee tasted better too.
a few days later i was at the nursing home where i volunteer with the Memories in the Making painting group. One of the women had a small over-cooked piece of chicken with her. She had been painting but had only managed a couple of strokes on her naked piece of paper. she was really not captured by the color of the paints or the texture of her brush or anything at all to do with the creativity i was so hoping to spark in her. She was however,absolutely enraptured by her piece of chicken.
i can’t pretend to know where a person with Alzheimer’s disease is in their head….what their world consists of or how the outside world might look to them.But i can tell you that when someone with the disease locks on to something they enjoy you really are best just to go with it. so…. that is what we did.
the favored piece of chicken took center stage that friday. not only did it hang out on top of the little circles of watercolors “watching” my friend paint. But it made an appearance in the painting itself and was even painted a nice shade of green. i wanted so badly to glue the piece of poultry to the page and have it permanently become part of her painting. but when i asked the painter what she wanted to do with her chicken she replied, ” oh, you keep it honey and give it to someone who’s hungry.”