Love of Letters.


" Fill your paper with

the breathing of your heart."

William Wordsworth

Yesterday, I mailed a card off to someone. A handmade card. I'd been meaning to do it for weeks now, and finally when it popped into my head for the dozenth time, I grabbed paper, fine point Sharpie markers, and some fun vintage images I'd gathered for this sole purpose: To make someone smile. More exactly, to give someone an envelope to open. An envelope that came to her mailbox from one hundred miles away, and had been touched by someone who is thinking about her. Someone who cares enough to take twenty minutes to create something for her.

And so I at last pushed aside my laptop and the pages of the book I'm working on and took out my acid-free-gluten-free glue sticks and scissors and went into my own little world of creating something for another human being.

Nothing earth-shattering. Nothing that's going to end up in the Museum of Modern Art. But. Something.

I know the world is always changing and progressing (well, not so certain that's true on all fronts!), and we are all marching into this new decade together and in another eighty years, most of us reading this won't be here to witness the dawn of a new century. But I can say with heartfelt longing that I miss getting letters in my mailbox. And I miss having people ~ friends, family, etc ~ who send mail and who use their fingers and some variety of writing implement to scribble out what's in their heart. Expressing whatever moves them. In whatever medium.

Whether it's barely legible or in the loveliest of penmanship. Whether it is solely words or, even better, includes or is primarily constructed of doodles and drawings and weird things cut from weird magazines or newspapers or coloring books or questionably tasteful advertisements from podiatrists featuring toenail fungus illustrations (as my witty and creative mother once sent to me!), and other fascinating embellishments.

I like to focus on the positives, but I can say with utmost certainty that humankind is worse off for not sharing more letters.

Bill. Contemplating when his letter might be

arriving in his beloved's parlor!

Email can be amazing. It's a quick fix and travels at lightening speed (or faster, I suppose) and it satisfies most people's lack of patience and need for immediate gratification. Sometimes, most certainly, myself included.

But on those occasional occasions that I open my special boxes filled with letters tied up with ribbons...letters and things in 8 1/2 x 11" manilla envelopes, filled with crazily embellished pieces of creativity from my late husband, or handwritten notes and hand-embellished cards from my late son...or anything made and sent to me by my other two wonderful children, or any family and friends I love or have loved and will always love....I feel so fortunate. I mean, really, my heart bursts with joy. Because barring a fire or flood, or me losing my mind and tossing them into a dumpster...I will always have them.

To touch.

Knowing that other person I loved so much touched them as well. And put their actual precious time and life energy into the writing, crafting and mailing of them. They placed that stamp. They sealed that envelope. They perhaps even drove five miles to that post office. Their DNA is on that envelope. And not in some depraved and dirty way (get your mind out of the gutter!), in the most wholesome and loving way possible.

And I feel like we lose a little bit of our tenderness and mindfulness and humanity every time we become more "efficient" as a society.

People have to go to mindfulness classes and read books and articles and go to lectures and "guru led" workshops to teach them to "be in the moment." I lovingly and gently suggest you try taking out your pen and paper...maybe go wild and grab some colored markers or colored pencils or watercolors. And write a letter or craft a card. Even your stash of weird stickers from the Dollar Store, applied to a blank piece of paper and embellished with the words "I'm thinking of you" or "I love you" can add an unbelievable quantity of joy to someone's day.

And then, think of someone you love or care about or want to inspire or cheer up... or maybe just think of someone who is lonely or ill and doesn't get to see many human beings and would love to touch something another human being has taken the time to touch. And mail it to them.

And see if it doesn't make your heart sing, imagining that envelope traversing the countryside or city, making its way into that person's hands and heart. And see if that doesn't help you to focus on the brevity of life and the moment at hand. And bring about mindfulness. And add a touch of sparkle into your heart.

I know it will put a touch of sparkle into theirs. For years and maybe even decades to come. Long after all of those emails are deleted or lost when their computer crashes. Long after their iPhone has died and all of your shared heartfelt words are stored in some great cloud of cr*ppy and not-so-heartfelt technology in the sky. (And of course I express these vehement opinions as I type this on my MacBook...sending if off into that great cloud of cr*ppiness in the Maine sky. The irony is absolutely NOT lost on moi.)

So long as there are a few sheets of paper around, recycled or finely handcrafted in Italy...and so long as the USPS is still hanging by a thread, I'm mailing letters and cards and care packages and anything that holds my heart-print, and fingerprint.

I hope you know the joy of reading someone's handwritten thoughts and musings on a piece of paper that's traveled dozens or hundreds or thousands of miles. And of sending the same.

Sweet dreams and heart-felt musings. Now go get thyself a fountain pen! And some glitter. ;)

Sandi

xo

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