Every Christmas, kind wishes of goodness and joy flood post offices. Christmas cards turn our minds to friends dear, long lost, or even forgotten. Much to my dismay, social networking sites have made it possible to check on the latest updates of friends far and near with such ease, that the exchange of actual cards may seem a bit redundant. But truly, there is nothing like getting a hand written letter in the mail.
This holiday season, I find myself running to the mailbox like a little kid, to find it filled with holiday cheer. This is the one time of year personal mail outnumbers bills and junk by ten-to-one and I am delighting in it.
I've always been surrounded by letter senders. And I have stacks of them. I keep them in a huge basket in my office and I have no idea why. For some reason, this is the one thing I collect--while I am swift and severe in ridding myself of needless possessions, both large and small, (a couple of summers ago I even got rid of our car before my husband got home from work) letters defy this rule.
I have notes saved from when I was in 6th grade, to letters written to me while I lived in a far off land. There are letters from parents, siblings, lovers and children. There is something so praiseworthy in the handwritten letter; words chosen with care and scrawled carefully across a clean, blank sheet. It is one of the most reflective forms of personification of the human soul.
Just for fun, I spread out the contents of my letter collection this very morning and re-read a few. Here are some of the thoughts sent to me over the years:
Merry Christmas you lamb chop! How can one chop candidly express to his fellow sister chop how cool chop souey and pork chops are around this holiday season? I'm sure glad we've employed this novel idea of no gift giving this year. Even though we will have to send Mom to a mental institution to cope with her purchasing withdrawals, it has actually been fun to focus on talk, laughter, and Diet Coke this vacation."
Remember when we painted my ziggurat blue on the patio? Well, I was getting some wood for the fire and I saw a huge blue streak on the patio. I don't think Mom has seen it yet. Count yourself lucky that you are out of the country so you're not here when she goes ballistic. I really miss you. I hope you're having a good time."
This morning I noticed the smoothness of your cheek, then the yellow of the marigolds when I came downstairs. You make my life beautiful."
Happy Anniversary. See, all this time you thought that I forgot that...today is the anniversary... of the day after our Anniversary."
"Lisa and Mountain Man,
Love is a trembling happiness...You two are the most beautiful match ever. I look forward to your life together cause I know it will rock the house with Mountain Man in his overalls and Lisa sportin' the painting bandanna toujours..."
So you've moved! How is the new location? I also heard you bought a guitar...Maybe we can be the Indigo Girls after all."
Greetings from the les plaines d'Abraham...I am still running frantically not sure which end is up and meeting some of the biggest hearted folks ever--(big hearts packaged in cheese curds and sucre a la creme) Hey! You're all over this place...besides the streets cobbled with your blood sweat and bootprints, we just drove down a street called SASSVILLE and I knew it must be named for you."
I slept in until 10h30 this morning! Yes, I am thankful for sleep, as it is a rare commodity indeed. One and a 1/2 more weeks until finals and (please forgive me for being a bit too dramatic) I'm going to die of a nervous breakdown. One paper down, 2 more ten-pagers to go and I'm almost there! But I love it--I think I work better under pressure."
Join with me to an afternoon not so long ago:
Ripples of laughter peaked over mists rising. Pale fish swam like butterflies to sandstone beached edging.
Wasn't that a fun afternoon. Quiet, peaceful, and placid. It was a time of reflection and self discovery. Somewhat nostalgic, we stood and wondered what it wold have been like to live near the banks of Walden Pond during the 19th century. A few mosquitoes scampered by, the train pounded off in the distance, and the breeze swept through the nearby trees with outstretched limbs. What a peaceful day that was. Thank you for that day, it is one I shall remember for a long time."
* * *
Instantly, I am reminded of the sender. I am filled with joy at memories forgotten. Letters remind, letters give, letters capture the sentiments of the sender and the feelings remain frozen forever upon the page. Letters celebrate living, capture life in all its vast simplicity. Letters lend a little immortality to our lives. Letters, tangible with ink on paper, link us to the sender and like John Donne said, "More than kisses, letters mingle souls; for, thus friends absent speak."
Are you a letter writer? A letter saver?
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