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 Seven Hundred Thirty Seven

They walk along the muddy laneway, avoiding the deepest puddles they can just make out in the meagre light of the pre-dawn. Calves are bawling somewhere off in the gloom. Their mothers respond in low tones, chewing their cud. There is a touch of snow atop the grass that edges the path and beyond in the surrounding fields, a glimmering veneer that arrived sometime in the night and will be gone as soon as the sun rises fully.

They stop at the shed first, slipping inside as quietly as they can, flicking on a light in the corner. The two cows stir slightly at their entrance, neither bothering to rise. One has a calf curled up beside her, born the night before, its hair dry but still with a sheen from the placenta that once surrounded it. The other is alone yet, chewing patiently. Taking her time, one of them says.

They leave the shed and walk through the nearby corrals, bouncing flashlights off the cows who look on indifferently familiar with this routine. There are no calves to be found in the straw bedding or anywhere else in the pens, unusual for this time of year. They notice one cow has a full udder and is standing with her tail held away from her body. Without a comment one of them heads to close off the laneway, while the other opens the gate and chases the cow from the pen. She ambles unconcerned along the laneway and they herd her into the shed beside the other two cows.

They leave her there in its warmth, opening up the laneway again and returning home for another hour of sleep before dawn comes and it is time to work.

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 Seven Hundred Thirty

Today marks the second anniversary of when I began to chronicle the events following the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn’s arrival in these parts. I remember those strange first days vividly. The disorienting timelessness as our daily lives dwindled while the news of the Dread Lord’s spread was ceaseless. We went for walks through the shuttered community and there were signs for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that never came that stayed up for months. It is harder to recall the weeks or months leading up to his arrival. The day to day ebb and flow of our lives has been lost. That world and those lives are like a distant epoch now. We can never return to it.

Now with inoculations and our other defences against the Dread Lord there is hope that we can resume something like that existence again. It will be different, of course, how could it not be. We have all been changed by the past two years and there is no returning to what was. The roads back are lost and overgrown. We can only carve a new path.

The Grippe Reborn is still here though and will be a part of our lives going forward. His power will ebb and flow, but we know now what is needed to hold him at bay. I am sure there are nasty surprises still in store, but nothing like those first panic-stricken days, when dread and uncertainty ruled. We know what he is now and that means so much.

The protests in our neighbourhood are also still a part of our lives. Every Saturday a thousand people gather and march in the streets demanding the end of something. All the quarantine measures have been lifted in these parts, but that has only emboldened them. As with the occupiers in the Dominion capital, this is not really about the mandates, if it ever really was. These people are demanding a kind of revolution, an overturning of the order of things, and a return to a world that never was. They want that imposed upon us all in the name of freedom. The police do nothing and the governments announce they are very concerned. And every Saturday our streets are overtaken again.

I am tired of it, so many of us are. Lately there have been people from the community gathering to block the protesters, attempting to take back our neighbourhood. It is hard to see how this ends well. Eventually it will subside, but like the Grippe Reborn it will continue percolating, overwhelmed by the roar of other things, the swell of our lives, never quite receding entirely.

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 Seven Hundred Twenty Three

A day that is neither winter nor spring, but occupying the nether regions between the two. The sky is overcast with wispy grey clouds that look as though they should dissipate under the glare of the sun, yet they persist throughout the morning chill. The streets are quiet now, with only distant sounds of traffic that disappear as abruptly as they arrive. A few people are about, rushing forward, harried with their heads down, casting nervous glances when they pass by. Above the narrow cloud of a jet stream marks borders that slowly dissolve in the sky.

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 Seven Hundred Sixteen

One week of war and a new world order and another week of the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn. We have almost forgotten his existence with all the terrible news coming from Ukraine and the dread that it will engulf us all in a conflagration. Yet he persists, no doubt delighted by our inattention, our tired eyes unwilling to look any longer.

In these parts with March upon us, the last of the restrictions has been lifted. Masks are no longer required and gatherings of any size are allowed. We shall see what the results of that are. Some will remain cautious still, of course, but most are happy to be done with all this. I was out yesterday for a coffee and no one who entered the cafe wore a mask and it was the same when I went to get a sandwich for lunch. On our walks to my love’s work in the morning the streets are much busier than they have been as people begin the return to their offices. The institution I work for has announced a graduated return with flexibility, so we shall see when I am asked to go back.

It is strange how normal everything appears after two years of mostly living under quarantine strictures. I suppose last summer it was much the same, but that felt very different. Then it was a comfort and a celebration. We had just been inoculated and the future it seemed was ours. That ended in disaster and so now I am wary rather than hopeful. The Grippe Reborn has more guises to adopt, more tricks to play and we shall not be free of him for a good long while it seems. If I thought our government’s would be more willing to respond to that eventuality I would feel more comfortable, but I do not.

They have proven themselves feckless and callow, both in this crisis and the crisis engulfing Ukraine. It has been obvious for a long time what Putin was and yet he was allowed to take and take in Ukraine and Georgia and Belarus and elsewhere. His cronies were welcomed with open arms so long as they had money to offer, money stolen from the country and its future. Now, at least, they seem to realize the gravity of their earlier mistakes and are willing to take a strong stand. It almost gives one hope.

As always, things can get worse. They can also get better, but it is hard remember that, let alone keep any faith in it. The future remains unwritten.