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 Eighteen

The snow and cold continue. The sky is overcast and grey. Outside my window I can see the flakes dancing in the air as they make their steady descent to the ground. Going outside yesterday it felt like a day in mid-January, the wind with a hard edge and the snow implacable. April is the cruelest month, so they say, and there is nothing crueler than a winter that has overstayed its welcome.

I recall some years ago that the winter dragged on through most of April and even into May. It was an exhausting ordeal mentally. All you want is an end to the cold, to the snow, for the sun to shine and it actually to be warm.

That is what I want more than anything now as well. Winter can feel isolating enough, everyone bundled up and hurrying to a place where they can find warmth, but in our current predicament it is enough to make the strongest despair. My love curses the snow every time she looks out a window. That seems to give her some satisfaction, at least, even if the snow continues unabated.

The sight of barren fields is too much now. I long to see leaves on trees, for green grass and crops. In this time of devastation and death, the smallest signs of life can give hope.

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 Seventeen

Sleep refuses to come. Outside it is cold and snowing.

Mercifully there are no thoughts in my head, though I suspect they are there lurking and waiting for their moment to emerge. A strange emptiness has seized me, a blankness that is sometimes freeing, sometimes paralyzing. The future is an undrawn map, an unsurveyed domain, particularly now. That is both hopeful and terrifying in equal measure.

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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 Sixteen

Every time I allow myself to think that sense of normalcy has arrived at last, that the days can go on like this now, something happens to jar and remind me of how provisional all this. The earth is shifting at our feet. Is it an earthquake, an aftershock, or something new born into this strange new existence?

There are no earthquakes in the Lost Quarter, though we sometimes feel the tremors of other distant eruptions. It is always so strange to think that something that has happened in another realm, far away and unreachable, can touch those of us here in this secluded place. Even those of us here, who both curse and bless our isolation, are forced to admit we are a part of the greater world, for better or worse.

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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 Fifteen

I awake to snow on the ground and a chill to the air. Winter holds sway for another few days at least. There are years when it slinks away without notice, surrendering its dominion to spring without issue, the cold evaporating away leaving warmth and rain showers in its absence. This year it seems to be entrenching itself, setting up barricades and daring whoever might come to dislodge it from its place.

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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 Fourteen

The days along the river passed with an incredible kind of bliss, one they had never experienced before. They would wander down the river, caterwauling through the water at friends, both old and new, eventually making their way deeper into the habitation, which still remained blessedly empty. Nights they would spend atop one of the edifices, surveying their new domain and calling out to whoever passed by, be they fellow geese, magpies, or crows and robins freshly arrived from the south as well.

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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 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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