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 Fourteen

The days along the river passed with an incredible kind of bliss, one they had never experienced before. They would wander down the river, caterwauling through the water at friends, both old and new, eventually making their way deeper into the habitation, which still remained blessedly empty. Nights they would spend atop one of the edifices, surveying their new domain and calling out to whoever passed by, be they fellow geese, magpies, or crows and robins freshly arrived from the south as well.

Hoss and Bess were their names and they had passed six seasons together, migrating between a southern marsh and a slough in a distant part of the Lost Quarter. There they had raised dozens of children, all of whom they had sent out into the wider world. Some they saw on occasion when they passed through on their migrations, others they never heard from and could only hope for the best.

As the days passed and the byways of the habitation stayed empty, they began to talk about staying on here for the year. Before it had never been a question. The river was crowded with their kind, hemmed in at all sides by humans and their contraptions. The best places for nesting and lazing upon the river were always contested. Those geese who stayed through the year on these waters were battle hardened as a result and intimidated hinterland dwellers, like Bess and Hoss, who were used to having a pond or slough all to themselves.

Now though there was no competition for space along the river and there were a plenitude of nesting spots, more than enough for all. Food was abundant as always, and without the humans and their contraptions everyone was much more pleasant to be around. They had not had a spat since their arrival, and as each day passed and old acquaintances arrived and made themselves known and decided to linger as Hoss and Bess had, they wondered if it might not be better to stay, for this season at least.

Each day they stayed made their decision more and more for them. They still had several days travel to reach their slough, and then they would have to build a nest for Bess to lay her eggs. Seasons were short in the Lost Quarter and one didn’t want to be too late raising children, or it would be winter by the time they were ready to head south. A winter journey was arduous, for there was little food to be found with harvest done and snow on the ground. In the end they never made a decision exactly, certainly not one they discussed and agreed upon. They just never left. There was too much food, too many friends, and no enemies or hardships to be found. One day they discovered a spot, some distance from the river, but still close enough they could go there at ease. It was low lying, nestled in amongst some trees, giving them a sense of seclusion in such a bustling place. Yet they still could see in every direction and so could mark any predator’s approach. Without speaking to one another they set about to build a nest.

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