Friday, January 18, 2013

Snail Mail

Snail mail - I know that's supposed to be a criticism about how long regular mail moves compared to all of our electronic and online versions of sending information to one another but, I think it's an endearing term.  Snails are slow.  Slow is good though.  It forces us to stop and smell the roses.  It helps us to be more present. Slow cooking often brings more flavor out of the food and slow eating helps you to refrain from overeating and enjoy the company around you.  Slow mail is not such a bad thing.

Most days my mailbox contains bills, junk mail, or an occasional magazine.  There are those days though -- those wonderful days when it contains a little piece of joy.  Birthday and holiday cards are always fun to receive, however, my favorite is, "Just Because" mail.  It doesn't happen often but, when it does, it brightens up the rest of my day.  My Buddy, Gina, surprises me sometimes with a funny card or note.  My mom has done the same.  I like receiving emails, texts, and online messages but they don't have the same uplifting quality that a letter or card in the mailbox has.  Is it the 46-cent stamp that gives a letter the edge?  Or maybe it is the thought and care it takes to send a letter?  Rather than firing off an email and hitting send in under a minute, it might be the process involved in sending a letter.

When I was a kid, I had intermittent pen pals.  I always secretly wished to have one of those pen pals who last a lifetime.  Any time I've participated in a pen pal group though, I usually get the dud who stops writing after one or two letters.  Then I have to stop writing so I don't become that weird, stalker girl who keeps sending mail to a stranger. 

I have definitely slacked off over the years with sending letters through the mail.  I miss receiving regular letters too.  I have a box of old letters I received from friends and family over the years.  I went to France for three weeks as a teenager and stayed with a family there.  I have saved letters from my family and friends during that time because they helped me with my homesickness. 

When I was 19 years old, I moved from Ohio to South Carolina with my family.  I had lived in Ohio my entire life and it was a difficult transition.  Even though email was gaining popularity at that time, I much preferred letters and cards at that point.  Seeing my friend's handwriting and smudging the ink made me feel connected - it was my life line to the home I used to know.

I currently have some stamps, some new pens, some new cards, and a long weekend.  I also have some ideas for handmade postcards.  I hope that snail rests up - he has some work ahead of him.

Enjoy your Friday, your weekend, and a slower pace!

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