Falling Back, 1. Heading Into the Woods
It's time to change the heading again, I think. Fall is arriving, and we seem to be falling back into a second wave. The "new normal" has let us down, more than anything because of those who insisted on it being as similar as possible to the "old normal." People are trying to live it up, setting up private parties, or opening up discos in cities under night time lockdown. Or, like the girl in Germany that worked in a hotel for American servicemen, having symptoms, getting a PCR, but going out on the town to party before knowing if she's fine. (She wasn't, and infected at least twenty people.) She is being charged with committing negligent harm.
The numbers of infected keep going up in Spain, day after day. 27,404 new cases have been registered since last Friday, almost half of them in the region and city of Madrid. Some areas are going back into local lockdowns, and the newly opened schools have seen teachers and students go into quarantine, some of them even closing completely. Deaths have not gone up as noticeably, but that doesn't mean they aren't happening. We're heading for a hot fall.
Not as hot as the Pacific coast of the United States, perhaps, where scenes from areas bathed in red, hellish light make one think San Francisco and other spots have suddenly been teleported to Mars. The health implications of the fires and smoke are yet to be determined. Here, in Spain, the province of Ourense, in places that border Portugal, is also burning. By the time of writing, probably around seven thousand hectares have burnt, a good size of them in the national park of the Xurés. The extreme heat of this past weekend hasn't helped, and the rainshowers we got this past night probably barely touched that area. More rain is promised for tonight, and temperatures are slowly going lower.
Fall is approaching. Already, the days and nights are almost equal. Leaves have been falling for a while now, and the greens of those left are dull and tired. September lilies have flowered, pink and white. Actually, they're a type of amaryllis bulb, but fragrant and fleeting. This year we have no persimmons on our tree, but little green oranges are trying to grow. There was precious little fruit on the rest trees, and even the wild blackberries were small, withered, and scattered. Our best peach tree died. It seems as if nature is also turning its back on this year, the annus horribilis of mankind.
On the bright side, it may be that wearing masks really does make new infections lighter, and may even innoculate us against the virus through a type of variolation. We may become exposed to small enough amounts of the virus while wearing the masks, that we don't fall ill, yet our immune systems recognize the intruder and don't let it harm us. It's a bright spot to hold onto, like a torch this dark winter. We still have to get through this fall and winter, but surely the only way to go now is up?