MARCH 28 — The tulips outside the office bloomed last week. No one came and told them to — that still amazes me. By what flawless timing our lives unfold!

When I lived in New York, and read the Times, I’d skip the nature editorials. I was concerned with more important things — who lied to whom and what it cost the public, why the poor weren’t rich and the rich weren’t happy. Came the revolution — in me, not the world — and I realized I’d been overlooking the biggest story of all: consciousness, and its seasons. It keeps unfolding.

There is a revolution in consciousness — this magazine is an expression of it — which affirms life as it rejects many of the values of this society. Believing that, why do I keep making snide references to The New Age, as if it were a bad case of athlete’s foot? If I ridicule easy targets — people who pass off the delusions and fever of an ordinary life as cosmic revelations; who overburden, like an ill-trained runner his heart, such words as God — it’s because I’m like a two-pack-a-day smoker who just quit, deriding those I understand all too well.

Recently, a friend went to a workshop that she called “one of the most incredible experiences I’m sure I’ll ever have.” She said the man could “read minds and see through walls” and had “so much love you’d give him your shit and he’d give you back light.” He also kept a bottle of whiskey beside him and was “quite drunk” by late afternoon. When I joked with her about this — “Find out,” I suggested, “what kind of whiskey he drinks” — she got miffed.

She thought I was being cynical. I wasn’t — certainly not about what may or may not be genuine extrasensory perception, merely about the elevation of certain people beyond doubt, or criticism. To submit is human — we submit to our work, to passion, to the seasons. We need to surrender, or else we dry up, having forsaken our connectedness with the world. But to submit to another person is something else. It denies that connectedness. Nothing excuses us from the burden of living.

Or dying. Cancer kills one in three of us. No lotus of enlightenment, or is it? Peg Staley, who has cancer, struggles for an answer to that question. Her letters, in this issue, are an exquisite bouquet — a gift of life for us all.

— Sy