Apparently, in 1338 and well into 1339, Death showed up for a grand performance at a little village of Nestorian Christians. The village was known as Issyk-Kul; it lay south of Lake Balkhash, Russia. The cemetery headstones made clear that a major work of the macabre had taken place in that short year. Three of the stones actually told us that the THE PLAGUE killed the people buried there. It was etched into their epitaph. THE PLAGUE. And so it began. One of Europe's largest choreographed pieces--composed by Death--began in a humble village and played over and over again through towns and cities until two thirds of human life within her boundaries was buried from dancing so well with Death. We have danced with Death all our lives: as individuals and as a people.
N. Thomas Johnson-Medland
N. Thomas Johnson-Medland is the CIO of Lighthouse Hospice, Inc., of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is the author of Bridges, Paths, and Waters; Dirt Sky and Mountains, Cairn-Space, Entering the Stream, Along the Road, and From the Belly of the Whale (all from Resource Publications) as well as Turning Within. He lives in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania with his wife, Glinda, and two sons, Zachary Aidan and Josiah Gabriel.