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 Fifteen

Yesterday I mused on our gloomy beginning to winter here in the Lost Quarter, which continues today, though it promises to be warmer. Part of my gloominess at its arrival is no doubt the effect of the clouds, grey and heavy, which have settled in these last few days, not offering any respite. That isn’t typical of winter in these parts. Most days are clear, the sun bright despite the chill, which certainly makes it easier to bear the weather.

I grew up with long winters, had to work outside in them, and so the cold doesn’t bother me as it does others. Winter is just another season, with its hardships and benefits, though those are sometimes more difficult to see, especially as it lingers on long past its welcome.

There is an undeniable beauty to a snow covered world. Even snowfall is beautiful. There is a quiet that descends with the flakes, as though everything is hushed by its presence. As beautiful as the river valleys are in spring, fall and summer, they possess a fierce splendour in winter as the ice slowly encroaches upon the current from each bank and the tree branches grow heavy with snow.

Even the darkness has a strange allure to it in winter after the long days of summer filled with light and glorious sunsets. It has a different texture than a summer night. The moon feels brighter, the stars more brilliant. The snow itself seems to glimmer.

I shall never grow tired of seeing my breath cloud the air before me, the way it hangs still on a particularly cold day as though frozen in place. There is a calmness to many winter days, as though the wind itself is hiding from the cold, that is never present at any other time in these windblown parts. That stillness, and the silence that goes with it, in a world where the birds have migrated and so many other creatures are hibernating, is breathtaking.

The challenge of winter is to not let it drive us indoors. That is true now more than ever in this time of the grippe reborn. This weekend my love and I wandered through a nearby neighbourhood, warm coffee in our hands, ducking into shops to browse and gather a little warmth. It was a pleasant afternoon and we shall have to find more such diversions in the months to come.

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