in a world in which bank bills and passion, catalogue orders and invites, teacher notes and to-do lists, itineraries and plane tickets all can come into your screen, into your daily agenda, at the click of a button, there is something sublime about succumbing to the slow pace of letters with stamps.
something even richer if you slit open the envelope and consider the vast possibility for what you can stuff deep inside, cast off to the clouds, with little more than the 39 cents that, as of this minute, the mail minions claim is the bottom-line cost of doing the business that will not be stopped by rain, sleet or snow.
you’ve read and you’ve heard, you’ve considered, i’m sure, the rapture of actually picking up pen, choosing ink, choosing paper. putting down thoughts in that old chicken scratch that gets scratchier by the day, i swear, what with the lack of practice, and maybe the eyes that now make it fuzzy, fuzzy all over, oh no.
a letter for no reason. a letter for thank you. or i’m sorry. or i love you. or, god, this is bad, is there something to do to pull you out from the deep dark place you’ve plunged into?
it’s just that once in a while there is something marvelously breath-taking about stopping the flow, taking time out, creating in real time, and stuffing your heart in an envelope.
ah, but here’s where we rip open that envelope. think outside the confines of words penned, flatly, on paper.
here, people, is where we go into the third dimension. here, people, is where we really consider what you can do with the limited room of an envelope.
here’s where we see what we can stuff down the throat of the folded-up paper with the gummy north rim.
i am particularly fond of sending mail-sized surprises, stumbling across some little thing that triggers a thought, makes me think of a someone. and rather than waving goodbye to the thought as it travels along out the distal hole of my head, simply succumbing.
just the other day i was perusing the aisles of a spice house, an amazing, intoxicating shrine of a spice house, filled with all sorts of jewels with fine smells. the furled logs of cinnamon sticks, the shining little stars of anise, peppercorns in pink and green and white, vanilla in long lanky pods you couldn’t wait to rip into, for the soft sweet treasure inside.
well, in my mind, this is just the sort of place for envelope stuffing. imagine the joy of opening an envelope stuffed with, for no reason, a packet of herbes de provence. or slitting the sealed edges of something postmarked to you, and finding three anisey stars spill in your palm. maybe even a recipe napping there, too. let loose your inner marco polo, dispatching spices from hither to yon.
bulbs, too, make for fine winter wonders. even just one tucked in a safe nest of papers. or packets of seeds, beckoning spring, promising summer. imagine the reverie of twirling the seed tree and picking nasturtium or sweet pea, big boy tomato or chocolate bell pepper, or the one i’ll never forget, forget-me-not. a packet of bath flakes. a few bath oil beads, especially the ones in shapes like the moon or the stars or the proverbial rubbery duck.
anything little. anything sweet. anything willing to slide into the confines of a letter-sized, legal-sized, or heck even a manilla-sized lickable post.
these are the sorts of once-in-a-blue-moon surprises i delight in mailing along. packing some wholly unanticipated folly into the folded-up paper that is addressed and sealed with a stamp.
what a sumptuous treat in these drab days of the winter that will not scat, to know that, just a few days after you stuff, lick and stamp, someone you love will reach to pick up the mail, expect nothing so much as more grist for the recyclable mill, and suddenly, unexpectedly, stumble upon you and your envelope whimsy.
suddenly inserting a good dash of joy into the spiceless stew known as a long day in winter.
i know you’re an imaginative lot. so you’ve probably already thought of, and executed, a vast army of marvelous mailings. anyone willing to open the envelope, and divulge the contents inside?