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 Sixty Four

The sky is heavy with dark clouds and the promise of rain. It has been so dry these last weeks that I can almost feel my skin tightening, as if I am slowly desiccating and soon will be preserved for centuries. Of course, there is little that lasts that long in the Lost Quarter.

I recall that in my youth there were concerns that a portion of the Quarter, where I grew up, would turn into a desert. My grandparents even appeared on the news to talk about the possibility and as they spoke pictures of windswept dunes were shown. Ridiculous. It is a desert of a sort, but one of grass not of sand. There can be no doubt, it was drier there than the rest of the Quarter, some years receiving so little rainfall crops couldn’t even grow. The wind would blow and take the soil with it, filling the air with clouds of dust that dimmed the sun, so that it felt like one traversed an alien landscape.

But that was a fundamental misunderstanding of what was happening with the climate and the land. We were in the midst of several dry years, common in that area, which were followed by wetter ones. The first of Those Who Came found the area uninhabitable it was so dry, but later arrivals thought it bountiful. Both were correct. Now the extremes shift from year to year, the storms growing more violent and strange.

Only the wind remains constant. It is never still on the Quarter, sometimes a howling menace, sometimes a sweet comfort on the hottest days.

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 Sixty Three

I find I cannot focus today. My thoughts keep drifting away from what is at hand to idle things. After so many weeks where my only thoughts have been about the grippe reborn and all that has befallen us, or my endless resulting correspondences that I have kept, it is a relief to let my mind wander about as it pleases. One can only focus on the same thing for so long without becoming exhausted in both mind and soul.

Now I will let my mind flitter where it will. From the (im)possibility of extrasensory perception, to the many escapes of Fray Servando Teresa de Mier, to crumbling foundations of Scientology, to the evolution of all faiths across history, to the true nature of black holes, to Jackie Robinson stealing home in the World Series, to the guitar riff in Fat Boy Rag.

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 Sixty Two

The day is overcast but warm. I spend it indoors baking flax bread, prairie buns, and cinnamon rolls, laying in supplies for the weeks to come. Now that I am done with that work I have no urge to write. It is enough to sit back and smell the fruits of my labours. Perhaps a taste as well, for there is nothing quite like the taste of bread freshly made.

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 Sixty One

A traditional holiday in the Lost Quarter has begun. Normally this would be a time for people to head to the hinterlands and experience nature’s delights, while I stay home taking pleasure in an emptied metropolis. Instead most everyone is staying close to home and the river is busy with people taking the sun and chatting.

It is heartening to see people going about their days, meeting up with friends and family, enjoying a walk or a bike ride. If one didn’t look too closely it would almost seem normal, thoughts of the dread lord entirely absent from everyone’s mind. A closer look shows the truth though. All those gatherings of people are carefully spaced so that no one is near enough to touch another and on the paths everyone is careful to give as wide a berth as they can manage.

There are even shops open here and there, including one selling a iced drink. My love and I partake and wander along the river, watching the people as they go by. Those of us who love to indulge in the pleasures of watching others in their infinite variety have been left sorely lacking these last weeks. Of all the idle pleasures I miss the one I have felt keenly is to sit in a café or upon a bench and watch people as they go by, imagining who they are and the stories they might tell.

Today makes it feel like we are closer to that day’s return, despite the dread lord’s depredations, which makes my heart soar.

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 Sixty

A day off from correspondences, where I am free of the tyranny of responding to inquiries. Yet the day is not restful as I had hoped.

Partly it is the fact that I had a miserable sleep. An uneasy one, though dreamless. It took forever for me to surrender to it and even after I did it felt as though I was forever near waking, drifting in and out of slumber. I woke early and it is as though I didn’t really sleep at all.

An unaccountable anxiety worries at me. I felt it some weeks ago, on and off, when all this began and now it has returned. There its provenance seemed clear: something had ended and was gone forever. Now I cannot locate it’s source. Is it that my love must soon return to her daily drudgery in her tower? Is it that all of this is wearing on me?

We bought some plants to fill up the house with greenery, as well as strawberries and herbs for the garden outside. Planting them occupied me, taking me away from that sense of what I don’t know. Unease? Dread?

We’re all of us waiting to see what comes next, uncertain as ever what it will be.

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 Fifty Nine

A baby cries in the distance and I go still, straining to hear. But the sound vanishes as quickly as it came. I can hear the quickened footsteps of someone in boots passing. By the time I go to look out the window the street is empty. A rarity, even in this time of quarantine law.

Above is a cloudless sky. The sun is warm in a way it hasn’t been since spring began to make its tentative way into the Lost Quarter. It feels like a new beginning.

They are beginning to ease the quarantine restrictions in the Quarter. It is a tentative process. Even then there are many who feel it is too fast, that we are not prepared. But of course we will never truly be prepared in the way they want us to be. We cannot be entirely safe from the dread lord now. Not when he has already breached the walls of our defences.

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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 Fifty Eight

This is the stuff of dreams. Nightmares maybe. Standing on a street corner in the shadows, just beyond the glare of the lamps, hat pulled low and eyes hard as diamonds.

A shadow drifts across the light and I follow, digging into the pockets of my jacket until I find the cold, hard metal there. It just makes me uneasy, offering no comfort. I still grasp it tightly all the same.

The shadow disappears around the corner and I stand at the crossroads, lost for the moment. Unsure where to go. Do I dare follow? Something like fog hangs in the air, a cloud passing over the streetlamps.

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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 Fifty Seven

A lone figure makes his limping way down the street. It is a painful progression, the man leaning heavily on his crutches, unable to put his full weight on either of his legs. Even from this distance I can recognize his form and hobbled gait.

He has been in this part of the Lost Quarter for quite some time, having arrived from parts unknown seemingly to stay. I see him often making his slow way somewhere, his face set with resolve. Occasionally he has stopped for a time to rest on some ledge or bench, his crutches set aside.

Continue reading

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 Fifty Six

A day of correspondences, flurry after panicked flurry. No time for thought really. Just reviewing them and replying as best I can, trying to make sense of it all. There is confusion, anger, sadness, and delight hidden amongst those words – mine at least – though one would never know it to scan their formal register.

It is strange when looked at from a certain perspective. Nothing tangible is accomplished, just words and more words, back and forth. And yet consequences arise from them that ripple here and there, to every part of our lives.  It is, in fact, hard to look away from the correspondences, to not come to believe that they amount to the sum of the world. They are a part of it surely, and in this time of quarantine necessarily the greater part, though I long for an hour or two with no further dispatches.

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 Fifty Five

I’ve got eyes for you, tucked away in the closet, sealed in a cardboard box. The tape holding it shut is wearing, it hardly sticks anymore. I have peeled it back so many times to pull them out and study them.

Divorced from their sockets, their natural habitat, they are strange things. Not so round as you would think, a little misshapen at the back, with that odd nerve extending out. They have the look of flesh about them, but of course they are not. I pull them out on occasion and roll them about in my fingers, like marbles that I might play with.

This is no game though. You will recall what is owed. I have not forgotten and I see all my debts paid, in blood or otherwise. We will meet again, through happenstance or otherwise, and then we will see this through to its conclusion.