I asked friend Sunday evening, “what did you guys do this weekend?” Her response, “we had fevers.” That seems about right. The valley is in full tilt with regard to the flu. However, it would appear that the wave of influenza and flu-like illnesses that have been plaguing the valley may be on the downswing with anecdotal reports of kids finally heading back to school.
Most kids who got struck by the flu or the other viruses that have been mimicking it have missed a full week of school or more. Sports teams have had to pull players from opposing teams just to have enough players to play and classroom desks have sat unoccupied. My kids have lamented, “Mom, what’s the point in going to school? No one is there.” An obvious feeble attempt to play hooky, I opted to let them sleep in all week and avoid the bus to give them an extra edge against catching something.
According to the Washington State Department of Health, this year’s flu hit epidemic status in week three of January. Most cases of the flu have been influenza B and there have been 38 deaths to flu in Washington state. The flu epidemic of 1918, by comparison, killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide, leaving almost no community untouched. I have read accounts of that plague and the violent, turbulent wake it left behind. If something that lethal hits again, I am grateful we have electricity and running water.
Speaking of water. There’s much abuzz regarding the recent measure imposed by the county to halt subdivision in response to water availability. This comes without surprise given the impending years of water-related lawsuits, recent controversy over out-of-basin water transfers, and court orders. When I was in college, my professors used to say, “this generation’s wars are fought over oil, the next wars will be fought over water.” We are perhaps on the front lines here in Okanogan county, but let’s hope the war analogy won’t hold true and we can find a rational and peaceful way to compatibility with our scare resources.
In other water-related news, there seems to be an over-abundance of H2O in the form of vapor around here. Are you wondering if the fog will lift? If so, you’re not alone, in fact I just checked airline prices to Arizona just to see what it would cost to get out of it. This is the grayest winter I can remember, although the winter of 2009 stands out as similarly gloomy. My hair and skin have never felt so supple, but still, the need for some sun is growing.
The only way to get out of it is to go to higher ground (or another state) and the Loup has offered a little bit of escape from it. Of course, snowmobilers and backcountry skiers have reported getting some sun above the clouds. For those of us left in the lowlands, the forecast shows minor breaks and cracks in the system, in fact, I just looked outside and I see some blue sky. So goodbye for now, I am going to go for a walk and hope the sun shows itself.