Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 76

Brevig Village, Alaska, modern view of the grave site November 20, 1918. The 76th day of the worst wave of influenza. "Damn this ground is hard." The men with pick-axes, shovels, and explosives must have said it a lot. A dozen times. That's the reaction when you're trying to dig into the frozen earth. Six feet down into ice and dirt. Maybe a hundred times is more like. A slice of ground … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 67

The Mississippi River, Grand Rapids, Minnesota In the far north, along a ribbon called the Mississippi River, eagles perch on the branches of the gray pine trees. At their choosing, they'll launch and fly downward at a long angle, eyes fixed and legs tucked. Gliding and gaining speed, they cruise at top speed parallel to the water. At coordinates measured in quarter-inches, they slowly drop a … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 56

A tough place for a decision Perched on the fence with a strong wind blowing. That's what Day 56 feels like, the second day of November 1918. The fence is the issue of re-opening or not, the perch is the indecision over which to do, to stay closed or to end closures, and the wind is the trend of most American communities to stop quarantines, stop the bans on all sorts of public … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 55

Eagle River, Colorado Next time you're by a river, take a minute to stand and watch. Watch closely. The current has currents. Water is on top of water with different depths, bottoms, and barriers. The grade, the banks, the wind, each affects the shape and leaves a mark. There's a lot going on in every river. So, take a minute. Stand. Watch. Closely. There's a lot going on in the River of … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 48

You get stuck. The things you see around you; the tilt and trend down to now and your memory of the past weeks; the things you're looking to see in the day, days, and week after today; those fixed events already set or expected several weeks or a few months ahead. You're somewhere between all of these states of time, states of being, and states of mind. With so much floating and swirling, you feel … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 46

Camp Custer, October 1918 The future is like the sun. Stare at it and your eyes go bad. Now well into the sixth week, Day 46, and Americans are looking forward, sizing up the shapes and objects ahead. They hope to see an edge sharpen to an end and a line drawn for a beginning. But it's hard to really see much. The only thing visible is a blinding light. And looking longer doesn't help. In … [Read more...]