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Footprints in snow

3 Jan

I travel to the mailbox in socks, thinking this is only a quick trip there and back. The sidewalk has been swept clear of snow (swept as the last snowfall was enough to manage with broom) and the putting on of shoes felt like too much work.

Of course I did not take my cane, not wanting to juggle that and mail, and so stumbled, just enough for my left foot to sink into the snow at the side of the path, making a soft imprint and chilling my toes.

I do not always think things through.

I carry with me that anticipation that always comes with getting the mail, though the time for Christmas cards is now past and there are a handful of weeks before birthday missives. There is that hope that I think is carried over from my youth, from my days of pen pals gleaned from “Big Blue Marble” (Riezwan, Deepa, Tsen – where are you now?) That hopefulness that comes of wishing for a letter, something personal, meant for ME to be tucked amidst sale fliers and bills.

Of course there is nothing of the sort. An insurance notice and two sales advertised on gaudy cardstock, things to feed the trash can (after careful shredding, ah the age we live in). And I return to bed, curling with chilled feet under the blankets and staring again outside at the tree branches that move only so much in the breeze. Not wind today, just the chill breath of the world at rest.

I sit here and think about the boxes of stationary, years worth of gifts unopened, unused and think that to write a letter would be something of worth to spend my day doing. The pleasure I feel in receiving such a thing cannot be only my own. But who is there to write anymore, in a time when the letter writers of the past (grandparents, aunts and uncles) are all lost to me now, most with heavenly address that cannot be attained now matter what kind of special delivery postage you use.

I think that in our world of email and instant messages there is perhaps no room anymore for pen pals.

It’s a sad feeling. The time and care that went into crafting a letter, the insertion of the small item to give pleasure to the reader (bookmark, comic strip or article clipped from the newspaper) has been lost to abbreviated communication of CU l8tr well-wishes and the press of a “like” or “share” icon.

If I wrote a letter would the reader send one in return or simply text me their pleasure in a “thx” sort of way?

What would happen if we experimented with paper and pen and envelope and stamp and sought each other out in a, yes, time CONSUMING communication of tangible proportions?

If I wrote you a letter would you write me back?

My toes are warm now and I yawn, ready for an afternoon nap after the exertions of my trip outside. If I close my eyes now, will I wake to your response?

I smile, feeling the stirrings of hope as I drift off to sleep.