A sea of late-spring dandelions outside my barn is leaning toward Cape Cod Bay in a stiff wind, a wave of yellow. I am drawn to the cluster. The dandelion -- a French derivative for "dent de lion," the tooth of a lion, with its sharp yellow leaves and believed to date back 30 million years -- is born as a flower, becomes a weed, and dies slowly from the head down. Then its white, fluffy seeds, gentle blowballs, genetically identical to the parent plant, float away to pollinate the world.
And so it is with Alzheimer's, the decay of a flowering brain, pollinating the world, and in cases like mine, genetically identical to the parent plant. I am anxious now every time I cut the lawn, trimming the lithe stalks of dandelions turned weed.