Notes on the Grippe

Day One Thousand Twenty One

One year ends and another begins, the calendar’s remorseless march. How we obsess with measuring the moments of our lives: years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds. So many of them pass without us realizing it as we keep moving relentlessly forward, head down against the wind. Until suddenly we are standing in a new town with no firm grasp of how we have come to be here. Everything looks familiar, but the closer we inspect the less recognizable it all seems. Everyone we meet is a stranger with a faint, polite smile and a gaze that won’t quite meet ours. They, like us, are already casting their eyes ahead to the horizon.

As miserable a beginning to winter as I can remember there being in years. Bitter cold and snow from November on. My love and I escaped it by fleeing these parts for a few weeks, but it was still waiting for us when we returned. Day after day of -20 or colder as the nights grew longer and longer. Followed by warm spells where the temperature rose above freezing so quickly I ended up with headaches as Chinook winds blew in from the west. A day or two later the cold would regain its grip upon these parts, unrelenting.

Looking back at the past year, what will I remember in the years to come? I do not know when the history books will say the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn was defeated, but this was the year where we resumed the parts of our lives we had set aside for those two miserable years. Though he managed to touch both my love and I, I suspect I will not remember any details of that illness. It will blend in to all the other colds and flus that have been inflicted upon me, comfortingly unremarkable.

I will remember how as the weather warmed and spring turned to summer the crowded streets in our neighbourhood as people returned to their old habits. How light my heart was seeing them. We made three trips beyond the Quarter, venturing to Europe and the Eastern Dominions, something I had missed more than I realized. There are moments in both that I will treasure. Not just seeing the great sights, but those chance moments that can only happen in that particular place. Sitting in parks in the sun in a strange place watching people going about their days. Walking with my love alongside three great rivers. The taste of espresso, a fresh pint of beer, a baguette with ham and cheese, cucumber sandwiches at tea.

A good year, all in all. The world felt as though its missing pieces returned and we learned how to live in it again.  

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