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 Eight Hundred Eighty Four

On and on, these endless hot days of a languorous summer. I cannot remember so many days with the temperature over thirty. And there has been no rain for at least a month, not even the thunderstorms that typically accompany the heat. The other day the sky clouded over, the humidity rising, and a few halfhearted drops fell as we were walking, not even reaching the ground. It is parched again, the grass scorched brown and the leaves of the trees wilting.

The sameness of the days has been oddly tiring. It feels churlish to complain about hot days in the summer when soon enough we will be complaining about cold days in the winter, but it hasn’t stopped me. After awhile it all begins to feel ominous. All my life I’ve heard warnings of the coming changes to the climate and how it will impact everyone. They were easy to discount – there were always more pressing matters to be concerned with – but now it is impossible to deny something is happening. The weather is markedly different than it was in my youth in these parts.

We are always slow to recognize what is happening and the change has been so gradual it has been easy to choose not to notice. I still feel the same as I always have, or so I think, and yet hours spent at my desk at work now trouble far more than they used to. There is aches and stiffness, aggravated nerves throbbing. It used to be I could ignore such things, go for a walk, and they would resolve themselves. Lately I have been busy at work and continued to ignore the warning signs, assuming they would just go away. At first they did, but then they returned and were far worse than before. Now I am going to physio for treatment, doing stretches and strengthening exercises, frantically trying to force my body back to normal.

I have had these issues with my nerves getting aggravated on and off since the Grippe Reborn arrived in these parts. A symptom of a more sedentary life spent largely at home, or just a fact of getting older? All the above most likely. What has become sadly clear is that the normal I am striving to return to isn’t going to happen. This is the normal and is something I will have to watch and deal with from now on. I’m no longer the person I was and there is no returning to that. There is only living in the world as it is and working to make sure it doesn’t get any worse.

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 Eight Hundred Seventy

Midsummer. I begin to notice that the evenings are not quite so long as they have been. A blessing in some ways on hot days, allowing more time for the house to cool off before heat arrives again. Languid and lazy and lying about, that was my last week. After months of feeling as though we had to fit in as much of what we had missed these past two years with the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn as possible, we finally allowed ourselves the pleasure of nothing. No festivals to attend, no friends and family to visit, no activities. All of it made for perfect summer days.

The last few months have felt like a frenetic race to make up for lost time. Travels to distant shores that were not permitted under quarantine, but also just getting together with friends and family. Events, like the rodeo or music festivals, that previously we might attend or not depending on our mood and availability, now felt important to go to. We now understood there were no guarantees they would be offered every year. No guarantees that things would go on as they have.

It has proven exhausting though. I am no longer used to being out amongst people all the time. I am more aware of the energy it takes to do so. The things that I used to occupy my time during the last two years have fallen away. I have spent less time baking bread and tending to my garden. I planted late and until the heat of this last week it has looked thoroughly unimpressive.

The Grippe Reborn remains and yet this summer has an air of finality about it. Quarantine strictures everywhere have been dismantled and people returned to their old lives more or less. Every week I hear of someone who has been touched by the Dread Lord, but the trepidation that used to accompany such pronouncements is gone. Most everyone seems to have accepted that there is risk in encountering the Grippe Reborn, but that we are all likely to do so eventually, and they are willing to live with that. Even those I know who have been the most cautious have in the past weeks have become much less so. I think that will only continue, regardless of what guise the Dread Lord adopts in the coming months. He will remain, part of the fabric of our days, but only a part, never the whole of our thoughts.