But look around, when it happens, for signs of a stronger spirit at work. People will cheer on their lawns as 25,000 strangers run by. They will throng the barriers in Brookline to cheer for people whose names they can’t pronounce. They will hand water to strangers, and their children will proffer carefully sliced oranges, and the exhausted runners will take them with trust and gratitude. The city will be enfolding them again, risk or no. And to anyone who loves the city, it will look a lot like public joy.
Stephen Heuser is the editor of Ideas. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.