Margaret Renkl

Margaret Renkl is the author of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear weekly. Her work has also appeared in Guernica, Literary Hub, Proximity, and River Teeth, among others. A graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Carolina, she lives in Nashville.
June 11, 2019

A Points South essay from the Summer 2019 issue

In 2007, the fossil remains of a severely disabled prehistoric man were uncovered in what is now Vietnam. The skeleton revealed the fused vertebrae and weak bones characteristic of a congenital disease called Klippel-Feil syndrome. The man was a quadriplegic, unable to feed himself or keep himself clean, and yet he survived to adulthood—during the Stone Age, mind you—because others in his community took care of him.