Notes on the Grippe

Being an accounting of the recent and continuing pandemic and its various circumstances, from the perspective of an inhabitant of the regions lately called the Lost Quarter. Dates unknown.

Day Three

Given we all have time on our hands at the moment, perhaps you will allow me the small indulgence of conducting a brief tour of the Lost Quarter. So few of you have ventured to that lonely corner of the world, for when would you have had the occasion? For one, it has none of the multitudinous blessings of the modern world you can find in the great metropolises of this planet. It is also extraordinarily challenging to find your way there, and then back again, without the aid of those who know the ways. I would never have left without the aid of my dear companion Herm, who I chanced to meet at the Crossroads of Dorothea. But that is a story for another time.

I shall begin at the centre of the domain, at least the centre for me, an ancient place, long ago inhabited, though only ruins stand there now. The Old Place it is called. You will find it on no map that I know of, for like much of the Lost Quarter it is forgotten by the world. Our borders have been erased, our towns and cities rendered “Here Stands Nothing of Particular Importance” on the edges of maps of more significant places. I apologize, it is an old complaint that I cannot stop myself from giving vent to, even in this time when the grippe reborn makes mockery of the presumption of borders and the comforts of home.

As I stated, the Old Place is a ruins now. What it was in its glory is no longer evident. The remnants of the edifice stand in the midst of a grove of trees, an oddity on those grassy plains where normally the only trees that can be found surround the few sloughs and ponds that dot the landscape. There is a spring nearby, once a stopping point for travellers passing through, but otherwise there is no obvious reason for the trees to be there.

Whoever constructed the edifice, of which only the broken stones of the foundation remain, planted them obviously. Of them little is known. That they came after the original inhabitants of the place had been driven out and exiled to the far corners of the Lost Quarter is an agreed upon fact. Where they came from is a point of argument, though they would undoubtedly have passed through much of the Lost Quarter to arrive at that place. Why having come so far they would have chosen to stop there and make a life is hard to fathom.

Others did as well, but the signs of their being there have been lost to time’s inexorable march. Only the Old Place remains of that bygone era. It is unclear why it has survived when all others have vanished. One is tempted to ascribe some meaning to it, but the truth is that it is most likely happenstance. We survive by chance and luck after all. Seeing any meaning in it is vanity, something that the winds of the Lost Quarter shall always wear away.

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