Monday, June 13, 2011

What ever happened to real notes, cards and letters?

Don't get me wrong.

I love txting, email's and facebook, because I can stay in touch a lot faster with a lot more people. Often it's the only way we stay in touch.

But I still like getting a note, card or letter by snail mail.
It just makes me smile all over.

When we were in Alaska we were more excited to get mail than food!

We would be scattered about all our various activities around camp, when someplace in the distance you would hear the sound of an airplane's engine.
Everyone would listen but continue with their tasks.

The sound would grow closer, if it was a large plane only those who were to meet it would gather at the top of the packed dirt runway to get ready to unload.

If it was a single engine.

Everyone would pause looking up to see it clear the bald mountain at the end of our little valley.

Then the magic would begin to happen.
It was like you could feel it crackling in the air, feel it's presence enter the valley.

Someone would point and yell "Mail's here!". he call would travel across the cotton grass and fire weed laced tundra like an eagle's cry kissing the earth.
Men would come from their cramped little sleeping quarters, down from the shop, or towel wrapped from the homemade sauna.
Men would look up from the sluice box, heavy equipment, or the bob cat.  If they were lucky enough to be on the other side of the hill fishing, they would cut the trip short, tossing everything in the trucks to race the descending air craft.
(If you were working underground, you didn't know anything until shift change).
Women would emerge from the kitchen wiping their hands on their pant legs or aprons and the children would start to dance the mail jig we all felt like dancing!
Everyone would converge on the dinning hall, finding a place to sit or stand, to wait for the pilot to bring down the mail bag's. Placing them on the head table. The pilot would begin pulling packages and letter's out, calling out the name like a Christmas package from Saint Nick himself.
Every letter or package brought with it a moment of silence until the name was called, the recipient racing forward to gather the treasured item, then would either fade back to their spot to be sure there were no more. Or shuffle off to open them.
I watched as mail ripped open from excitement, with paper flying like a kid on Christmas morning. I watched as it was opened with a reverence of a prayer, and the trembling finger's of anticipation.
The mail brought news of home.
The only way we could get it usually.
Always the mail bag's seemed to miss a few who would either trudge dejectedly back to try to get some sleep before their shift, or they would linger and share in the news that was sent from "home" to the other's.
The mail was our only real connection with the world. It was our only connection to home, our only source of news. It brought to us news of birth's, accomplishments, children's art, clothing, book's, it even brought news of breakup's and divorce. But the hardest news it brought was of death's. The mail took us home in many way's.

So yes. I look forward to txt's, email's, and checking in on everyone on facebook. 

But a single engine "puddle jumper's" sound can elicit those same feelings from our mail bag gatherings, creating an unalterable urge in me to go check the mail box to this day!

Because real mail.
The kind written by hand. 
The kind discovered in the mail.
That is not a bill.
Still makes everyone feel emotions in often indescribable way's.  

1 comment:

  1. Very true! There's just something about seeing your name on the front, and knowing it's not someone asking for money... It's especially good if it's unexpected!
    When did you live in Alaska?