I got a pingback on yesterday’s post and it got me to thinking about another item between family members and friends.
Dreams flow well in letters, don’t they? I think we’ve lost part of that connection, especially because of the internet. No anticipation flutters our heartbeat when we think of getting an email. That sensation came when we waited for real mail, on paper, with ink covering the page like so much ivy growing out toward us, carrying dreams, images, and speculations. Secrets huddled within the lines of word leaves, providing us with tiny thrills and mysteries.
These were the reasons we wrote to cousins, best friends on vacation, or pen pals. Most of that is gone now with the arrival of internet. That loss is what I regret, for now, instead of picking up fountain pen and paper, I reach for a keyboard, and the thought and care that would had gone into writing to a love one has dissipated into a mist of remembered pleasure.
Can you imagine how much of our world’s history, knowledge, and philosophy would not exist if it weren’t for written letters?
Much of the ancient world would be a mystery to use without those letters between philosophers and historians. The treatise is a simple extension of the letter. Those documents formed the very foundation of what we know as literature, scientific notation, constitutions, etc.
Family members wrote to one another, knowing that they might never get a response from the one who’d moved so far away, or the one who’d stayed in the old neighborhood/country. Hope clung to fragile ink-covered pages, written with love, despair, anticipation, disgust, and all the rest of human emotion. Did those pioneers recognize the tradition they followed from a thousand years before?
As we move further into a new world that disdains the tangible personal letter, we need to look back for a moment to imprint in our minds what we’re giving up. Physical remains of letters have survived for thousands of years. One badly timed lightning strike can wipe out years of work or correspondence.
Mother Nature doesn’t care about electrons that floated around or are stored in the ether around us. A scrambled atmosphere can do as much damage in the long run as a flood. All communication is vulnerable to disaster, computer driven no less than the Pony Express.
At the end of the day, though, we choose to use our time to communicate with dreams, aspirations, and secrets from one person to another, or merely to open a channel and punch keys.
The individual decides. Quick and dirty or thoughtful and fulsome? When is the last time letters arrived in your mailbox?