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 Seventy:

The glorious weather continues, so different than last year when winter seemed to cling on for dear life until the end of April. There has been no snow, not even rain, just sunny day after sunny day. I can already hear the farmers and ranchers muttering in the distance about how dry it is, how poor the grass and crops will be as a result. A true sign of spring – there is never enough moisture, except when there is too much. We had a bit of snow the other night, just enough to cover the ground, and some of it still lingers in shaded spots.

Blizzards in late spring are not uncommon in these parts, though always unexpected in the moment. I can recall my first year away from the Quarter, when in mid March a storm blew in over the mountains. Overnight the bare ground was covered in piles of snow, forty centimetres worth. There were drifts that came up to the waist. The whole city shut down the next day, hardly a car to be seen on the road. My friends and I walked down the middle of those empty streets to see a movie at a nearby mall in an empty theatre. Every year since a part of me waits for a storm like that to come in March. Some years it seems only a matter of time.

This weekend my love and I took advantage of the weather and went for a long walk by the river, our first of the year. We bought food from a café and had a picnic on an island in the river. The pathways were crowded with people out enjoying the day and we enjoyed watching them come and go as we ate. This idyllic scene was marred by the appearance of a crowd protesting the quarantine protocols, several hundred strong. They marched along the pathway, blocking access to a bridge and yelling at anyone who disagreed with them.

These protesters have been gathering every weekend since the mask requirements were added to the quarantine protocols, decrying it as some sort of assault on their freedom. Their numbers have ebbed and flowed through the last year, but on this day they seemed ominously large. The leaders of the marches are familiar figures in this city, known for their involvement in hate organizations, and it seems they have seized this moment as a means to reach out to those disaffected and angry at our long lost year of the grippe reborn. They have no answers, unless crying out for freedom and muttering darkly about lost ways of life are answers.

It was unsettling to see them in such force though, especially given the news of late. There have been a seemingly endless number of incidents in the last month, across the greater dominions and south in the United State, of attacks against those of Asian descent.  Given the dread lord returned to power in Asia this is perhaps not unexpected, but why such hate is exploding a year on from his appearance is unclear. But it has and the incidents seem only to be building on each other. The day following the rally a woman wearing a hijab was attacked not far from where we picnicked and those participating in the rallies seem only to get louder and louder in their assertions.

Even with the end of the dread lord’s power in sight – so tantalizingly near – these incidents remind us that the fractures he has managed to widen in our societies will remain for a long while yet. The repercussions of all that will be with us even longer.

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