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 Four Hundred Twenty Eight

I have been largely forgiving of our politicians during the struggle with the grippe reborn. They have been thrust into a situation they had not anticipated, and while one could blame them for that failure of imagination, it is abundantly clear that it is a failure shared across the world. We have known forever that the dread lord might rise again, have instituted plans and policies for just such an eventuality, and yet so many government’s, ours included, seemed to be utterly paralyzed at his appearance.

The various mistakes made in those early days, some from ignorance of the nature of the dread lord’s power, some from a bizarre inaction and almost an unwillingness to believe that this was happening, allowed him entrée into these parts and so many others. And here he has stayed, embedding himself deep in the fabric of things. All these early failures have meant that we have been unable to stamp out the dread lord’s forces in any meaningful way, which has meant our governments have found themselves vacillating between strict quarantine protocols and trying to allow some semblance of normal life.

Every government in the Dominions has made the same mistake at one point or another in the past year, thinking they had things under control, but in fact allowing the dread lord to march unopposed through the populace. Our leaders in these parts have the distinction of having twice allowed things to get so out of control that they nearly ran out of hospital beds and medical supplies. Once I suppose is explicable, but to allow the exact same thing to happen again a few months later, despite having seen the earlier consequences is unconscionable.

Yet it is not surprising, especially given the events of the past week. There is a significant minority, perhaps even a majority, of the governing party who claim there is no need for any quarantine protocols, who declare that the dread lord is of little concern. Many are representatives of rural ridings in these parts and they claim the dread lord is a scourge of cities only and that the rules are too onerous and unfair. It explains the great reluctance of the leadership of the party to enact stricter measures sooner when they might have saved more lives.

The tensions within the government caucus, which have been repeatedly publically stoked by recalcitrant representatives, exploded last week with one representative writing a letter demanding the resignation of the premier for his various failures. That such disputes should be taking place, while we all endure another round of restrictions and fear at the growing power of the dread lord, explains everything about the government’s response to the pandemic over these last months. For many, it is not their main focus. They have other priorities than defeating the dread lord, and we are living in the results of that. I can only hope that no one forgets by the time we come to vote again, for our leaders have amply demonstrated they are ill-suited to governing in any kind of emergency.

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 Four Hundred Twenty Two

My love has received her inoculation, truly a momentous day. In some ways I was happier for this moment than I was to receive my own. This to me signals the beginning of the end of this long battle with the grippe reborn. I know it will linger on into the coming years, but it will soon be a different sort of struggle and for that I am thankful. All of this took much longer than I had hoped for, and there is still so much work to be done, not only in these parts but across the world, yet I feel a weight has been lifted from me. A burden that we had to carry will soon be gone.

In the evening we went out and sat in park with a couple of friends, having drinks and enjoying the sunshine. It was the first time we have done something like that in a month or two and it felt like a new beginning.

I look forward in the weeks to come, as the tide that the dread lord has brought forth is slowly rolled back, to going out again and seeing more of friends, having a beer on a patio, and all the rest of those things we have been denying ourselves. Maybe later this year we can travel and see something of the greater Dominions. At the very least we can allow ourselves some measure of hope again.

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 Four Hundred Twenty One

Restless and unable to sleep these last nights. It is like I have forgotten how to drift off and I spend the darkened hours in bed trying and failing to do what should come without a thought. I almost dread sleep now; it holds no promise of rejuvenation, just anguish. Here, after more than a year with the dread lord grippe, it feels as though I am becoming untethered, just as the end of our struggles comes into sight. I have received my inoculation, and my love will receive hers soon as well. Yet I can find none of the peace I thought this moment would bring.

In part it is the inoculation I received, which has vanishingly rare but potentially deadly side effects. I knew about these beforehand, but was unconcerned. With the dread lord only gaining in power in these parts, there was clearly much more risk to me from him than from whatever might befall me from the inoculation. And there was not just me to think about. There is my love, who would undoubtedly be infected if I were to be, and any others who life chanced to send my way. The choice was clear.

My reaction to the dose was so powerful that I began to doubt that logic, even as I knew it to still be correct. The news in these parts did little to provide confidence. There were cases of the rare side effect (but of course there would be when millions of doses were given) and experts who advised against using the inoculation and experts who disagreed with them. It was exhausting in all the ways this past year has been exhausting. A cacophony of noise which you wish you could ignore but somehow cannot, a blanket of fog that leaves you turning this way and that wondering what direction to go.

I have turned away from the news and all the various mediums that extract so much time from our lives. Over the last year I have consumed it all voraciously, reading story after story about the dread lord, checking updates of numbers of those afflicted by his powers, and now updates of those who have been inoculated against him. It felt important to bear witness to our collective struggle; it was the least I could do so far from the front lines of that battle. And it was a comfort too, knowing others were enduring as we were enduring.

But it is a comfort no longer. This morning I went for a bike ride, following one river to where it met another, a great confluence at the centre of the city. I looked out upon that ancient meeting place where Those Who Went Away and many others gathered over the centuries, the water glimmering under the rising sun, the light as only it can be in these parts. I felt a sense of peace knowing that I was standing where so many others had looked out upon these same waters under this same light. Today, I said to myself, is going to be a good day.

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 Four Hundred Twenty

I dreamed while still awake, or perhaps I drifted off for a few minutes, though I do not think so. Sleep has been precious these last days, hard to come by. In the dream I had returned to the central parts of the Quarter. There were the rolling hills, the vast blue sky and the endless horizon that I know so well. The prairie extended in every direction I looked. There were no roads, no homesteads, no markers. I walked for what seemed like hours but encountered nothing and no one. The birds and insects flitting about, and the wind that carried them, provided the only sounds I heard.

It seemed I was seeing the Quarter as it once was, or perhaps as it will be again someday. I walked until I came to a small valley where some chokecherry trees grew, their branches heavy with unripe berries. There was a spring there, hidden amongst the bushes and I cupped a few handfuls of water to my lips. It was cool, a revelation. I sat in the shade of the trees for a time.

When I emerged from the valley the light in the sky had changed. It was a faded kind of blue as if something had been drained from it. There was something on the horizon, massive and dark. Metallic. It was hard to tell whether it was moving on the ground or in the air it so filled up that part of the sky. All I could be certain of was that it was approaching, growing larger and larger.

I blinked and it was gone and though I stared at the horizon trying to find some trace of its presence I found myself alone again. The birds had gone quiet, only the grasshoppers whirred on oblivious. The wind shifted direction and began to blow. 

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 Four Hundred Thirteen

May and the days gradually grow warmer. It has been a dry spring, aside from a few days of snow flurries, and the air is thick with pollen and dust. My throat is raw and my nose stuffed. I would fear that the dread lord has visited me except this happens every year. Still I linger inside, my own personal quarantine, as others race to enjoy the weather we have all been waiting for all winter, while I long for some rain to clear out the dust and pollen.

The news only grows worse in our battle against the grippe reborn. After spending much of the last year far from any main engagements we now find the Quarter on the front lines of the battle. More and more fall each day at a terrifying rate. To this point our hospitals have managed to care for all the afflicted and the loss of life has been minimal, no doubt thanks to the inoculation campaign that is slowly picking up pace. But for how long can we hold the line when the numbers continue to grow?

There were those, and our government leaders seemed to be among them, who felt the dread lord would go into a kind of hibernation as spring came. He did last year after all. That and the inoculation campaign would hold him at bay. Further restrictions were thus unnecessary. But just as we have learned so much about the nature of his powers, so he has learned how to evade our controls. And so we are faced with a tsunami our leaders could not conceive of and which they have no answers for. Worse they have spent the past months downplaying the effectiveness of quarantine restrictions and then imposing new ones despite that in a kind of tortured dance. People in the Quarter no longer know what to do and have stopped paying attention, deciding to just proceed as though the grippe reborn has been vanquished.

I have been saying for weeks now that better days are ahead and I still believe that. Having just received my inoculation, how can I doubt it? But it gets harder and harder each day to find hope in this. We see other places where the dread lord has been beaten back, whether by inoculation or quarantine protocols, and wonder bitterly why that can’t be us. It could have been, we think, but we have been led astray by those who lead us, who seem to have shrunk in the face of this moment. Finding the strength to endure another month, maybe more, of this seems almost impossible. I do not feel despair or anguish, just a cold fury that, a year into our battle with the dread lord, those who rule us could have failed so badly. Last night they announced strict new protocols to stem the tide, the only choice now that things have gotten beyond their control. And so we will spend this May as we did last May leading shadowed half-lives, wondering again when all this might end.