Into the Mist

By Ken Martin

January 23, 2023

Into the Mist

The rain left a fresh scent on the leaves and mist lingered as I walked my dad down the hill to the lakeshore. The ground was moist and the lake cloaked in a whiteout so pure I could hear only the water lapping the shore.

“See, Dad,” I said. “No people here. And no tire tracks.”

The years had left him with a look of disbelief, and his faded blue eyes seemed desperate as he looked at the shore, spongy green earth, and me.

Minutes earlier, Dad claimed the lakeshore was teeming with trespassers, driving trucks, playing loud music. “How can they get away with that?” he’d asked me.

The trespassers existed only in Dad’s mind, a mind in the throes of Lewy body dementia. I had my own delusion, thinking that solid proof would blow away these pretend people in a blast of sudden sunshine. But not so. In the looking-glass world of dementia, hallucinations trump logic and reason.

“I can’t explain it,” Dad finally said, bewildered, lost. The people on the shore had disappeared without a trace.

Those were the early days. I would later learn the best tools for helping Dad were not confrontation or argument, but simply calm and understanding, always approaching him with a smile and an attitude of acceptance.

A bullfrog sounded from the cattails. Out on the lake, geese were calling, flapping wings. A watery sun gave me a jolt of hope. I took Dad’s arm and we walked into the mist together.


Ken Martin may be found hiking the high country of the Rocky Mountains or exploring glacial lakes of northern Indiana. His writings appear online and in journals such as Oyez Review, Absolute Magnitude, and Appalachia: America's Longest Running Journal of Mountaineering.


Image by Simon Buchou courtesy of Unsplash

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