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 One Hundred Thirteen

The Lost Quarter has always been at the borders of maps, the blank spaces where the ink runs out and imagination begins to stir. No dragons lie here though, no explorers yearn to venture to its wilds. Only the wind strains to reach the far places of its hinterlands.

When explorers ventured into these territories they came to the Quarter, they looked around and carried on their way. Only the aridness of the place and the wind were of note. It was a waystation on their passage to greater things, grand discoveries.

Those Who Went Away passed through often of course, following the bison herds until they dwindled. They would be here still if they had not been so cruelly banished. Now they linger at the edges of the territory, and the minds of Those Who Came. They are at the borders of the maps, unwritten and unacknowledged.

Yet they remain and the maps we try to draw of the Quarter are incomplete without them. But to include them is to be forced to acknowledge that all the roads and settlements in these parts were built upon their suffering. That is History, some will say. Conquerors conquer, the subjugated are subjugated, and the victors write the songs we all sing. The dead are mute and so many of Those Who Left had their tongues cut out so their songs are forgotten.

Can anything be good if it is built on something wrong? The trunk is poisoned and so every branch and leaf that grows is tainted with that venom. The fruit that grows from those trees is more bitter than a chokecherry. We still add our sugar and boil the juice until we have something sweet that just hints at the bitterness that lies beneath.

We are forever losing our way in and out of the Quarter. The roads are never sure and the maps are never complete. There is no way for us to get back home, because we do not know what that home should be.

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