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 One Thousand Sixty

One rarely hears of the Grippe Reborn anymore. It is not a topic of conversation on any level. When I visited with friends who I had not seen in some time, in part because of the precautions we were taking due to the Dread Lord, no one mentioned it. In the news it may be referred to and on social media people still sound notes of alarm, but that is all so much background noise. Those who wish to be concerned will be concerned, everyone else has determined to move on. Even those who have recently fallen under his dread powers, some falling quite ill, have not spoken of it in the same way people did even last year. It is just another illness now.

Lately it seems all one can read are stories of doom. The nation is broken and our response to the Dread Lord demonstrates that we cannot hope to fix the problems we face. We have entered a period of decline, from which we will not recover. Some of it is partisan sniping, some genuine fear at the magnitude of the problems we face and our seeming inability to deal with them. Certainly it seems we have entered a period of global instability, triggered in part by social convulsions that the Dread Lord Grippe Reborn inspired. There is war in Ukraine and posturing between China and the western nations over Taiwan’s independence. Our health systems are strained, inflation is high and our governments seem ineffectual.

Despite all this I feel a sense of optimism. We came through a terrible and trying time, battered and bruised, but still intact. Certainly there are grave challenges to be faced and tumultuous times undoubtedly lie ahead. But that has forever been the case. The lesson I take from the last three years is that we can come together to meet those challenges. Not without a cost, but we can do it.

History is often written through the prism of tumultuous events, in part because they are easily noticed. To look at things in the long view, the deep history, is much harder. Gradual, steady change, the accumulation of small things, is barely noticed but is transformative. My parents can recall when electricity and running water came to farms in the Lost Quarter. That was their childhood. I recall our first computer and when we first got access to the internet. I remember reading stories about cyberspace and trying to imagine what that would be like. Now we exist in it constantly and don’t even acknowledge it.

The world of thirty, fifty, seventy years ago is both familiar and unrecognizable. The future of ten, twenty or more years will be too.


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