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 Two Hundred and Eight

I awake early, unable to return to sleep, even as my love slumbers beside me. It has been happening more and more of late. In years past I could sleep until nine or ten in the morning if I let myself, longer if I was really tired. The last few years I’ve been unable to sleep much past nine, while in the last months eight has been the latest I can manage. Worse, in the last few weeks I’ve found myself waking at six or seven, even on weekends, and being unable to return to sleep.

Is it another consequence of the grippe reborn stalking our waking hours and our sleeping nights, a presence in our thoughts whether we acknowledge him or not? Or is it just a sign that I am getting old? Why not both.

When it became clear there was going to be no return to sleep I let my thoughts drift over the day ahead of me. There was a bit of stiffness in my neck from how I had slept and it seemed to gradually work its way into my head until there was a dull throb there. I paid it little mind. Headaches are rare for me and they pass easily.

This one did not though, and by time I rose from bed the ache had deepened, encompassing the entire left side of my head. My skull felt tight as though my brain there was swelling, pressing out beyond its usual boundaries. An aspirin dulled the pain a little, though the tautness of my skull remained. There was a fog to my thoughts, a sort of dullness that didn’t leave.

My love was there to help, for I know little of dealing with the kind of pain that emanates from nothing. The pain that just is there, seemingly without cause, remorseless and without pity. She has bitter experience with such things.

I did yoga, I drank water, I breathed, and then I lay down, closed my eyes and breathed some more, thinking of nothing, not even the ache I could still sense. It was a shadow in my thoughts, not quite present because of the painkiller, but still there nonetheless. Gradually it dissipated and I was able to sleep for a bit. When I awoke it was gone, though the outlines were still there, like a shape I could trace on my head.

The rest of the day I spent at nothing, exhausted beyond measure by a battle I was hardly aware of. Now I sit looking out the window at the setting sun in the sky. There is a ridge not far from our home, covered with trees, that overlooks the river. Most of the trees are evergreens, but in the centre of the ridge there is a poplar, taller than the rest, whose leaves have turned but not yet fallen. The sun’s rays catch  its golden leaves as it descends until they seem to be liquid gold aflame. It is there only a few minutes before the sun descends further leaving the ridge and all of us waiting for nightfall.

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