As we walk on the bluffs above the straits on this beautiful, sunny day, I decide to try an experiment in meditation for my husband. Meditation, we've been told, might help with the agitation an Alzheimer's patient frequently feels in the late afternoon. My objective is to help him quiet his mind by focusing on hearing.
I find an isolated bench in a peaceful spot on a small wooden footbridge overlooking the water. We sit down, and I ask him to close his eyes. I close mine.
"What do you hear?" I ask him.
"You," he replies, facing me with his eyes wide open.
I decide to try a different tack.
"All right," I venture, "I have my eyes closed. Please close your eyes. Are your eyes closed?"
"Yes," he responds. But his eyes are open.
"Please close your eyes so you can concentrate on hearing. I hear the waves on the shore. I hear a car in the distance. I hear birds singing. What do you hear?"
"Like that thing there," he responds. His eyes are open, and he's pointing to a screw sticking out of a board.
I am getting the idea that hearing is not what we need to concentrate on today.
"Okay, let's do something else. I feel the sun on my skin. It is warm. Do you feel that?"
"Do you feel anything else?" I ask, the cool breeze blowing the hair away from my face.
His hand finds its way to my leg as he sits closer to me. This is not exactly what I had in mind, but it will certainly do.