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 Thirty One

My head aches and it feels as though I haven’t slept. But the sun is shining today and I am listening to John Lee Hooker.

In the deeper parts of the Lost Quarter there are places where people have gathered for generations to celebrate or simply to linger and while away the hours. Places away from watchful eyes, though how far away is open to debate. For if I know of such places and my elders as well, and their elders too, then it seems more likely that these are not places hidden from view, but rather places where some choose to look away.

I recall one place, a thick copse of trees gathering around some low lying ground. In the spring it was soft and muddy, clinging to our shoes, though the water never stayed long there. Once, I believe, it had been someone’s home, one of Those Who Came after Those Who Went Away were exiled. Many of Those Who Came left such markers scattered across the plains of the Lost Quarter, walls against its insidious winds. As with so many of those, there were no remnants of any settlement within, the house, like its inhabitants, long vanished.

We did not think of such things when we gathered there, and I’m sure those who came in years before and after my time did not as well. We were in the flowering of our youth and had our eyes firmly fixed upon the future. Soon we would leave these places and journey out on our own. But on the days we gathered there we did not think at all of the future either. All that mattered was that moment. Now.

Someone would bring beer and we would drink it, daring each other to shotgun the cans. Often someone would play music, usually AC/DC loud on a truck stereo. Other times we would just talk and laugh in the shadow of the trees. In the distance you could hear the occasional vehicle passing on the nearby highway, but mostly we were accompanied only by the rustling of the leaves, the scratching of the branches and calls of the birds.

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