From Fred Reed
Dear old friend!
As the days blend imperceptibly into weeks and maybe even into months, we’ve become adept at observing the small differences in our surroundings, both near and far. We were honoured by the brief visit of the swallows, which I believe I described in an earlier message. And I think I also wrote about the various bird song that reaches us, before dawn, during the day, at dusk and at night. But we’ve been struck of late by the near-disappearance of the gulls that once flocked in their hundreds toward the port just before nightfall. Now the few gulls we see appear to be circling without purpose or guidance, riding the updrafts and swooping on the gusts of wind that sweep across a silent city.
We’re guessing that they may be without a reliable food source, as the sardine canneries have closed for the duration and thus there would be no ready source of fish-heads and tails. But that’s just a hypothesis. Or, to put things in a more far-fetched way, if they are to be taken as a sign of divine mercy then it may be that the Supreme Agency has withdrawn such. Of which I’d be quite understanding, painful though it is to admit.
The plague progresses slowly in Morocco. All towns and cities are cut off and have been for nearly three weeks. People rarely venture out and only then to purchase necessities. I went to the souk on Tuesday. It was a shadow of itself: only the fruit and vegetable sellers were open, along with fish and poultry merchants. The normal hustle and bustle was missing. Police at the gate checked citizens’ permits, though no one checked mine. When I go, I’m assisted by our friend and occasional driver Jamal, who’s been ordered by this family to assist us! I try to slip him a few extra dirhams, since he has no current income and a newborn baby to feed.
I read that various regions in Québec are being isolated. What does that mean for you?
Is the air as clean and bright there as it is here? Are people drawing some conclusions from what they see?
Maybe I shouldn’t have asked:-)