If the pandemic ought to have given us anything, it should have been a more universal empathy toward the condition of illness.
Winter is over, and what a wretched one it was. There came a point in the season when everyone in our house was sick. I stood at the top of the stairs one cold morning, gazing down blearily at the pile of mail and magazines that had accumulated by the door, knowing there were dishes dumped in the sink to match and laundry heaped in the hampers as well. I thought of Henry Knighton, a medieval cleric who witnessed the Black Death’s scouring of Europe. I once read his firsthand account of the sheep and cattle that went wandering over fields where the harvest had rotted on the vine, crops and livestock returning to wilderness amid the great diminishing of human life. I now reigned over my own plagued realm, having lost this latest confrontation with nature.