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 Sixty Three

My love and I went for a walk to the great hill that looms over the north of the city, a vast parkway. With travel still circumscribed by the quarantine protocols here and elsewhere we have decided to make a project this summer of visiting various parks throughout the city, ones that we do not usually frequent. From its summit you can see the whole of the city and beyond sprawling out. Even on a cloudy, gloomy morning, as it was when we ventured there, we could see the mountains to the west and the prairie stretching in every other direction. To the east, beyond where our eyes could see, lay the Quarter, the roads there obscured by the clouds on the horizon.

The hill is so large it has its own hills and valleys that one discovers while wandering. The landscape changes as you go, one moment wide open grassland and then next descending into a forested valley. It is the place where the prairie meets the foothills, a battleground that neither ceded and both retain. To me though, the smell is of the Quarter. There is wolf willow and wild sage, buckbrush and wild roses, all combining to create that distinct smell that is the prairies for me.

We passed through a glen, a place where it looked like water might once have flowed long ago. Trees flourished on either side of the pathway, though the grass did not. It was dry with none of the profusion of brush and flowers we had earlier gone by. Two crows stood in trees on either side of the pathway calling out to each other, low and croaking.

We came from there to a small basin where the runoff from the winter gathered in a pond. It is dry now, though the ground is still soft. There were dead limbs of trees and other branches cast about like detritus from some retreating sea. One of the crows followed us, watchful from a tree, its eerie call silencing all the other birds. I looked up at where it perched in the tree, making eye contact with it briefly, before it took off, heading east toward the Quarter.

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