This morning I went jogging for the first time in months because I signed up to run a half-marathon in May for reasons that remain unclear to me. After a mile or so, I was doubled over by the reservoir in Central Park, cursing the forces of entropy. Then I saw something that took away the little breath that remained: a row of ducks bisected the pond in a ruler-straight line that stretched from the pumphouse on the north shore to the one on the south. The mathematical precision of these birds looked improbable. Maybe it was a harbinger of cosmic change, a hidden pattern made visible. Or an unprecedented glitch in the fabric of the world. The answer is likely more prosaic, but I’d rather not know the reason.

The death toll for the coronavirus crossed 100 today and the newspapers advertised the number like a score. More bombshell revelations about presidential corruption, although they will soon be forgotten by the time a handful of senators have chummed the waters. What has happened to these sad old men to so completely deform their sense of reality? They scowl and encourage us to deny our senses, breathing fresh life into Orwell: “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” No, you did not see the president do that. No, you did not hear him say that. Facts are elastic, truth is relative, and we’re living in a frightening version of Moore’s Paradox: “It’s raining but I don’t believe it is raining.”