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 Three Hundred Forty Two

A sunny, warm day yesterday, as nice a day as you could ask for in February in these parts. It ended oddly, the evening filled with snow squalls, thunder and hail. A rarity to be sure the commingling of thunder and snow. I can remember only one other occasion when I was awoken on a March morning to thunder, sleet and calamity.

It was eventful at least, in a time without events. The days drag in February generally, the length of the winter becoming something of a burden in the mind. There is the fear that we are only half way through, with the hope, usually in vain, that maybe only a few weeks remain until spring. This year is more of a slog than any other. The days don’t change from one to the other, we have only the weather and the growing hours of daylight to mark the passage of time.

Everything feels tedious at this moment. The grippe reborn still stalks us while we await our inoculations. His pursuit is steady, yet mostly unseen, a spectre to haunt our dreams. The inoculations are trickling in, though a flood is promised soon. Nothing has changed, in other words, in over a month. It feels as though we have been trapped in the same day for weeks now.

I remember in the first days following the dread lord’s arrival in these parts when I couldn’t stop reading about his march, his terrible powers and what needed to be done. There was endless debates about our quarantine measures – they were too strict, not strict enough, this protocol was ineffective and this one should be adopted, etc., etc. – and I wanted to know every detail of every arcane debate. I couldn’t read enough. Now, though, it feels like we have been talking about the same damn things for a year and I never want to hear any of this ever again. And yet, nearly a year on, the articles and debates and talking on it still continues unabated.

All of it continues unabated and, as much as I am optimistic about what the inoculations will achieve in thwarting the dread lord, I am exhausted with this current unending moment. It feels so petty given everything else going on, and the suffering of so many, but I cannot stop myself. This is lingering like the last weeks of winter when all you can think about is spring and green things growing. Or like the last hour of your drive home on a long trip.

For years, when my parents still lived in the central parts of the Quarter, my journey home to them was long, many hours along lonely roads that few others passed by, for the ways to that part of the world are slowly being forgotten. This time now feels like the end of those trips. When I’d almost reached my destination an unaccountable restlessness would always take hold of me. The roads then were so familiar – I had driven them countless times in my youth – and that familiarity, the same landmarks, the same curves and hills, just made me so impatient to be done with the trip and home, even though the time that was left was so much shorter than all I had come through. That is where we are now, restless and impatient, counting the days until we can be somewhere new.

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