We live in a world of instant gratification.
There are times when that comes in handy,
but we have lost of knack of patience
and the thrill of anticipation.
Many will scoff at that.
They will say time moves forward
and you can't stop progress. 
Those things are true,
but while I wouldn't try to stop progress
(It would be pointless to try--)
I don't believe all progress is good.

The scoffers have forgotten the childhood
joy of receiving a birthday card in the mail,
or an invitation to a party.
With social media, they stream hundreds
of photos for the world to see,
but don't know the joy 
of finding a postcard from a friend,
who had squeezed in as much detail 
as the limited space allowed,
ending with Wish You Were Here!

They are likely those
who have never experienced
the beauty of new stationery
or the scent of sealing wax 
pressed to an envelope.
While the immediate response
to texts and email is helpful,
it is impersonal, cold by comparison.
It doesn't hold a candle 
to the building hope and expectation 
of waiting for a reply from a distant friend,
or the excitement of finding the postman
has delivered a letter written in your lover's hand.
Something you can hold in your hands,
run your fingers across the paper
knowing they have touched the same page.
There is a connection; 
for that moment you are together as one.
We kept the letters in boxes or drawers,
held together with ribbons or string
to be treasured.
We could reread those letters
and feel that connection again
whenever we needed,
tangible proof that someone cared
enough to take the time 
to share what was in their heart.

There are people who don't understand
why I check the mail everyday.
I'm often the butt of their ridicule
when I ask if the mailman's come,
but it doesn't stop me from checking.
I will admit that in this digital age,
most of the mail left in my box
is wasted paper—
advertisements, junk, and bills.
But getting mail used to leave me warm and happy,
and I still have hope for the unexpected,
a card or a letter with happy news
or a simple hello 
that says you took the time to think of me.

~Elise Skidmore ©2024

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