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 Five Hundred Fifty Four

A momentous week in the Greater Dominions of Canada, yet as with everything in this time of the Dread Lord, it feels as though nothing has changed. We are living through the same days over and over again. Our government called a national election, hoping to capitalize on their popularity for their management of the Grippe Reborn. Instead, people were angry they had called it all. None of the other parties offered much in the way of a competing vision of the country. Nor, frankly, did the government. In the end we returned a minority government, much the same as the one that was already in place.

One cannot help but feel that our leaders, at every level, have failed miserably to rise to the occasion the Grippe Reborn has put us in. There have been modest victories here and there, competent management in some cases, but seemingly little else. It is as though the Dread Lord has set us adrift and we are floating through fog hoping we don’t run aground or strike any icebergs. There are signs everywhere that the world is undergoing dramatic shifts – climate change, the unravelling of the world order – but these are slow events, decades in the making. Just as the Grippe Reborn now seems to be something we shall be dealing with for a good long while. It seems fundamental then that we have leaders of vision, who are forward looking, yet the moment has revealed them all to be shallow wisps, interested only in power, with small ideas of little consequence.

Here in these parts the leader of the provincial government hid himself away for much of the campaign, worried that his appearance would impact the national Conservative party who was running against the governing Liberals. He left the province adrift for weeks as the Dread Lord rampaged throughout the territories. Only when the hospitals were about to be overwhelmed did he finally emerge to announce some restrictions and an inoculation protocol. It was what was needed a month ago, but at least it is here. The restrictions, as they always are with this government, are arcane, endless rules and exemptions, all arbitrary. You must stop selling alcohol by ten unless you dispense brandy, this sort of thing. The inoculation protocol is somehow even more shambolic, an easily editable document that anyone with moderate computer skills could fake.

The day before the election there was a protest near our home of those against the inoculation protocol and the restrictions. More than a thousand gathered in the park where my love and I were married to decry these new rules. They marched down the street crying for freedom. It was a depressing, infuriating sight. In the midst of the ruin of our health system, the cancellation of all non-emergency surgeries and procedures, there are people complaining that all this goes too far. How do you even reason with them?

Meanwhile, our provincial government seems more interested in political gain than in keeping us alive. What an absolute disaster, one that should never have happened. The election should have been for them, because they no longer deserve to hold office, let alone show their faces in these parts 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 Five Hundred Forty

In these parts we see patterns repeat in our battle with the Grippe Reborn. Just as his powers wax and wane in predictable waves whose peaks we battle to keep below the dikes we have constructed, so the responses of our leaders have become predictable. They have learned nothing it seems, least of all any kind of humility in the face of this scourge.

At every moment when the wave begins to fall, the Dread Lord retreating and our defences holding, they declare victory and an end to all of this. We can take down the ramparts, they say. The city gates can be flung open and all can return to the way it was. Yet the Dread Lord still lurks out in the far hills, marshalling his resources and it is inevitable that he will return in force and when he does we will be ill-prepared.

In June our leaders in the Western Dominions declared the Dread Lord defeated. With the inoculations they said we need no longer fear his powers and they announced an end to all quarantine protocols. There was hope that this time they were correct, that the inoculations would turn aside the Grippe Reborn whenever he returned, in whatever shape and form. And it has largely been true for those of us who took the doses. The Dread Lord is back in a new guise, able to move even more insidiously among us, but those of us with the doses are able to thwart his foul desires.

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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 Five Hundred Thirty Three

Harvest is in full swing in the Quarter. With the sweltering June and July and no rain to be seen, the crops are ready early, what little there is. Driving through the countryside one can see the swathed fields and busy combines threshing the grain. I remember those long days. A hot lunch would be brought to the field, eaten on lawn chairs set up in the stubble, so that there was no need to drive back and forth to the house. Dinner would be sandwiches and cucumber and tomatoes from the garden stuffed into an ice cream pail, picked up by whoever was driving the truck hauling the grain to the bins. It would be eaten while working and the work would go until it was dark and dew started forming on the swathes.

As a child those days always felt momentous. Everyone on the farm was focused on the task at hand and every moment was given to it. I remember the agony of equipment breakdowns that stalled the harvest in good weather. Having to race into town to get this part or that, hoping it didn’t have to be ordered. Or the despair when it rained, stalling out the harvest while waiting for the crops to dry so that they could be cut and combined. Every day of delay was another where there might be frost at night and the quality of what was being harvested would be ruined.

My love and I have had our own harvest this past week as we journeyed to a farmers market where the Hutterite brethren sell their wares. We bought peaches and nectarines from across the mountains, and beans, corn, cauliflower and more from the local brethren, all of which we then spent days cutting and blanching and freezing. Laying in supplies for winter. In my own garden the tomatoes are beginning to turn, though it is a small crop this year despite all the heat. The smoke seems to have affected the germination. We have plenty of herbs though and chard and kale. Soon enough I will be drying the herbs and picking all the tomatoes before the frost sets in, leaving them to ripen indoors.

Autumn remains one of my favourite times of year. Many dislike it because they see it only as harbinger of winter, a sign that warm days at an end. But for me it will always be a time where the fruits of our labours are realized.