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SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES

Douglas, Wyoming

April 23, 2022

     It seemed like a good idea at the time: I would drive to Cincinnati, for an unmissable event at my old high school, making it a leisurely road trip, taking along a bag of golf clubs, stopping to golf with my friend Whisperin' Jack (the famous medical researcher and bon vivant) in Aurora, Coloeado, then across Kansas etc. to Cincinnati, and see more of my oldest pals while I'm in town. Lunches at Skyline Chili. Departing on April 22. Should I take a warm coat? Aw, sure, just in case.

     And then the vagaries of Western springtime asserted themselves. Now I'm holed up at a Holiday Inn Express in Douglas, Wyoming, which was as far as I could get in the blzzard, after spending last night in Casper. Insterstate 25 became impassable. Semis in the ditch. Low visibility, temperates at 32-33 F., horizontal snow, gusts of the force and sweep that are familiar to people who know Wyoming. Still, I've never seen quite such a hilariously (but dangerously, for travelers) nasty April morning. Who knew it was even possible: wind-driven slush.

     So I won't make it to Aurora tonight, and I won't play golf tomorrow with Whisperin' Jack. Maybe I'll be there in time for dinner. But I'm not restless or frustrated, I'm lucky: warm and dry, in this very decent motel room, and I've got plenty to do: I'm still reading and correcting the page proofs of this new book on the coronavirus and the pandemic. Finally, we have a settled title. It will appear in October, from Simon & Schuster, as BREATHLESS: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus. My account, informed by extended Zoom interviews with 95 experts, including some of the world's most brilliant and respected evolutionary virologists, of the origins, evolution, and fierce journey of the virus technically known as SARS-CoV-2. Reviewing the page proofs with great care, tweaking a word here and a phrase there, trying hard to make it both accurate and graceful: this is what we do when we make a book. Breathless will be my 17th, and I very much hope that you give it a look and find it interesting. There are many, many angles and facts and personalities and considerations to this story that haven't yet been put together in one place.

David Quammen