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 Thirteen

The morning arrives with fog and a chill to the air. The sky is cloudy with the promise of rain or snow. I have stopped looking at weather forecasts so that each morning there is something new to greet me, something to distract from all the noise that seems to be constantly going in my head. Instead, I can look out my window and see the day as it is and follow its changes through the course of the day.

There is something satisfying in deliberately not knowing, in just accepting whatever the day will bring. It is necessary in this time of tumult, where nothing seems solid at all and each hour brings some fresh horror that we must find the strength to face. I do not have the strength to face it all – none of us do. We have to measure ourselves and find those moments of solitude for our minds where we can turn off the thinking that plagues us as much as the grippe.

And so I will sit here looking out my window to start the day. It is gloomy now, perhaps soon to become miserable. But the weather here is unstable as my thoughts and a day – an hour – from now it is impossible to say what it will bring.

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 Twelve

They returned to the Lost Quarter upon the wind from the south, majestic in flight, a vast arrow upon the sky. When they grew tired they descended to rest for the night along a river or a lake, or any patch of ground that held water. The next day they continued their journey, though as they came farther north they left a few of their company behind, their fellows choosing to remain there for the summer. The rest bid their goodbyes, hoping to see each other again when autumn came and they all began the same journey south.

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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 Eleven

I keep looking to the sky for the storm clouds I know are coming, building somewhere beyond the horizon. All I see above me is a glorious blue, the sun bright and warm as an embrace, especially after a cold winter. It is no comfort though, more like a lie, because I know it cannot last. What arrives when it is gone is still unknown, but it is hard not to fear the worst.

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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 Ten

The sky is bright and cloudless, the air crisp. I look out upon empty streets, only a few stray souls passing by.

There are plants on the shelf, leaning toward the beam of sunlight coming through the window and stretching itself across the floor, their verdant leaves so alive.

Above where I sit there is a map, on yellowing paper, of the Lost Quarter. The lines of its borders and roads are sharply defined, far more than they are in the world itself. It has its own topography, standing apart from reality, and if I close my eyes I can be walking upon those strange roads.

I breathe. My feet heavy on the worn carpet of this room. The air fills my chest. I can feel it going into my very depths and then back the way it came.

A magpie floats by the window outside catching my eye. I watch it dance upon the air.

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 Nine

The grippe is neither the first nor the last of the dread lords to walk the earth; they are as many and various as people themselves. Some, like the grippe, are insidious, assuming many guises, while others are bold conquerors, heralding their awful intentions with calamitous thunder. Their only commonality, beyond their terrible power, is that they are nameless and inchoate. And so we name them, because in doing so they become mortal things, something we can grasp and hold and fight against and perhaps ultimately vanquish.

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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 Eight

The dawn comes without a sunrise, the sky overcast and the day promising to be gloomy. The weather seems the only way to measure the passing of days now that the cacophony of activities that we used to fill them with are gone. I understand, as I didn’t before, why those religious sects had prayers to mark the hours of every day. It is necessary to fill them with something other than drudgery and why not holiness.

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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 Seven

Outside it is dark. Clouds blot out the stars and only the lights from distant windows provides any illumination on what transpires there. Snow is falling again, as it has been off and on throughout the night. The flakes are heavy and wet, descending almost like raindrops. The ground remains bare for now, still holding the warmth of the day close to it.

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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 Six

Geese have begun to return to the Lost Quarter in the last days on their long journeys north. Their magnificent flocks in flight, like an arrow pointing the way forward, contrasts markedly with their abrasive honks. Some will stay in these parts, for the rivers and sloughs are open now, while others will continue to the northern ends of the Quarter, where winter still clings, though not for long.

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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

Thoughts of the last time the grippe came to these parts fills my mind more and more these days. The order of things truly fell apart, for the dread lord cost so many lives before he could be vanquished. Now we are told we are better prepared, that we understand more the nature of his fearsome magic and have measures to counter them. Quarantine of course is an ancient practice, long proven effective, but the scale on which we will endeavour it now is beyond the imagining of our ancestors.

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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 Four

I awoke exhausted for no reason I can discern. I slept well and deeply. The sun is out and bright in the sky after two days of snow and dreariness. I can hear birds chirping in the trees, a wonderful salve.

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