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 Ninety Two

A weary, reluctant return to work this week after nearly two weeks off. If I’d thought it would make a difference I would have gone back kicking and screaming. It is always like this after Christmas at the best of times, the lethargy of the holidays lingering, but in the long year of the grippe reborn I feel it even more strongly.

The holidays were pleasant enough, if quiet, apart from friends and family. My love and I spent them together, of course, and that was enough company to bring me happiness. We have grown used to spending all our time together, and importantly we haven’t grown tired of each other yet. It has been a hard few months – two hundred and ninety two days – and we have gotten through it by relying on each other.

My love gave me some books on baking bread for Christmas and this weekend I tried a few recipes from one. Both were a success, if I do say so myself. The book goes against my general inclinations in its approach to baking bread, demanding absolute precision in the weight of the ingredients, the temperature of the liquids and the timing of everything. It is, I guess one could say, professional in method.

One of the things that has always attracted me to making bread was that a relaxed, decidedly amateur approach to all these things could still result in a great loaf of bread. If you added too much water or flour, you just needed to toss in a little more of the other to balance things out. Precision wasn’t necessary, it was a matter of feel with the dough. More an art than a science.

Well this book is all science and attention to details and the results speak for themselves. Perhaps a lesson for me to take into the rest of the year. As our quarantined lives have amply demonstrated, I will have plenty of opportunity to give the details the attention they deserve.

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 Eighty Eight

The first day of the new year, but only the two hundred and eighty eighth of the dread lord grippe reborn’s terrible reign. We have at least that long before we are able to end his calamitous rule over our lives. In these parts we are fortunate, for we will no doubt be among the first to parry his attacks and drive him from the Greater Dominions, while In much of the rest of the world he will still hold sway. Such is the privilege of wealth. Yet none of us is free of him unless all of us are; his shadow cannot be allowed to linger or it will fester.

It seems like years since that day in March when the dread lord arrived in these parts and everything changed. Really, everything had changed months before in late December, it just took that long for the ripples to reach these shores and for us to realize what they meant. Since then it has felt continually as though we are on our back feet, defensive and off-balance. Even the recent arrival of inoculations has seemed haphazard and frantic, though this has been all we’ve been waiting for these last months and preparations were made.

New Year’s has always felt arbitrary to me, barely worthy of notice. Why do we celebrate it in the coldest, darkest depths of winter? And if we are going to celebrate it in winter, why not on the solstice when the lengthening days at least point toward spring’s renewal? It is all because of the calendar, written up millennia ago, altered and reworked in the centuries since. Why did they start the year in January and not March? Blame Janus, whose cult has long since been extinguished, though perhaps not entirely.

This year especially the world doesn’t feel renewed. We have become acquainted with the shadow of the dread lord, this long expanse of darkness that is neither day nor night nor even time itself. It is dread and waiting and being left alone with only your thoughts. Perhaps when it has passed we can celebrate a new beginning. For now, I will cherish what I have, all that is good in this life of mine, remember all that I managed to achieve this year, meagre as it was, and hope for better days to come.