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So you think you've got it bad, having to wear a mask?

Updated: Aug 22, 2021

It is the year 1631 in Paris, and in the pale splendour of an early spring morning, the city of death awakes to the sound of a chorus of birdsong.

Already throughout broad valleys of the famine-stricken countryside, beside smooth-flowing rivers, below distant snow-capped alps, the first small buds of spring have appeared in defiance of the months of horror.

Along with the frozen bleakness of winter, another more sinister turn of events had occurred, with almost a million people dying of plague. With winds so fiercely cold, many perished in their tracks on doorsteps and along the cobblestone streets.

It had been a cruel lethal winter, for death stalked night and day. No door was opened, no street or alleyway crossed, no shop or public building entered without confronting the spectre of death ... in towns and villages as well as the capital.

Yet spring has now arrived on its annual pilgrimage, with a promise of hope and new life.

It’s as if, in the midst of the growing turbulence and mounting fear which now grips the heart of this troubled land, the force of nature compels the senses to throw off their memories of a dark and murderous winter and look to a prosperity to come.

Copyright - story Meg Mooney; photos Wix & c v williams.

This SSOA writers' blog is made possible by grant assistance from the City of Sydney.


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