Does anyone collect stamps anymore? These must be lean days for philatelists. The only mail that seems to be sent is bills, or worse, fines. But this does make the appearance of a hand-written missive in the mailbox a very special thing indeed. The instantaneous nature of today’s communications make it all the more exotic to receive words penned days, maybe even weeks, earlier. A paused moment in time from another town, maybe even another country across the seas.
Living lately as a luddite, I have become something of a regular at the local post office. Consigning birthday cards, little gifts and the odd mixtape to the whims of Australia Post, not to mention the occasional Etsy impulse buy. There’s a rare pleasure in putting the name of one of your favourite people on the front of an envelope, handing it over (or hearing that papery thump after you’ve fed the grimacing post box slot) and straining to keep it a secret until they receive it.
Like karma or love, when you send mail you’re more inclined to get some back. In the last few weeks I’ve had a postcard from my sister, a belated Easter haul of Lindt chocolates and pastel-hued Frankie magazines from my favourite Rabbit, and a mysterious package from Portugal! Within a well-traveled and heavily stamped envelope I found a brown paper package tied up with string that made me understand what those bloody Von Trapp kids were on about. And inside that?
The idea of luck has been a preoccupation of mine these last couple of years. A sense of wonder at the ways things can work out, and regular bursts of gratitude that I seem to have more than my fair share of lady luck’s bounty. But like the relationship between sending mail and receiving it, it seems to me that being thankful for what you have and open to what the future will bring tends to be a precursor to the best kinds of luck. Or as Tennesee Williams put it, rather more succinctly,
Luck is believing you’re lucky.
So when was the last time you got mail? I dare you to post a letter…