Little magics : postal apparitions, mailbox rituals

rayna

Letter lottery prize from R.

A few months ago I wrote about those little magics which brighten our days and make life sweeter. Small instances of wonder and beauty and kindness, whether bestowed upon us or passed along by us to a friend or a stranger. I felt those things missing in my day-to-day goings on at that time and made a conscious decision to do what I could to change that.

All seeing sorceress illustration from B.

All seeing sorceress illustration from B.

I was reminded of how, at one point in my life, I worked for my (ex)stepfather.  He ran a small business, strictly mail-order, selling rare & antique occult books; it was my job to process orders, pack and ship the books, handle the customer service items, and update the website (which I built!), along with the eBay auctions he ran. I also unpacked the shipments and stored/restored some of the books, though the latter not so often and I didn’t work there long enough to become proficient at it. Can you imagine spending your days patching up delicate grimoires or fragile first editions written hundreds of years ago? I could, at length and in detail, and was completely enamored with the idea. This was the sort of daydream I entertained as I went about my day. More often than that, though, I wondered, as I wrapped and secured each parcel -where was this book going?  What sort of person was this?  What were they using it for? I loved to imagine the little thrill they got as they carefully unpacked and opened their new book, and all of the possibilities it held for them.  My favorite time of the day back then was the trip to the post office after all of the orders had been handled, passing each parcel over to the postal worker, seeing each stamped, some certified, some registered, and tossed in a bin, ready to head off to its new owner. I have not since had a job that made me so happy or that was so fulfilling.

books

A legion of lurid tales from Prof. J.

There’s something about receiving a package or letter or a handwritten post card in the mail, isn’t there? I know my heart skips a beat or two on my casual stroll to the mail box every day, just wondering what might have been placed there by the mailman.  More often than not it’s bills or coupons or something for the previous tenant, but every once in a while, when the time is right and the stars align,  something unexpected and exciting appears from overseas or across the country or maybe even the city right next door. You just never know!

Scents and secrets from J.

Of course nine times out of ten we know that’s not really “magic”, now is it?  There is something in the mailbox because someone is responding to a letter you sent them, or perhaps they swapped with you a hand drawn illustration for a hand-knit pair of mitts. (Or, maybe you just …bought something.)

You can’t really just wait for these things to happen.  Or, well, you can, but I can assure you, that is a very disappointing business. Far better to reach out to some friends, set something in motion, to MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN.  A pen pal swap, a letter lottery, a handcrafted doodad exchange, a book trade.  Or maybe something “just because”. Something do you not expect to be reciprocated, something you made or wrote just for someone because you think they are special and you want them to know that you were thinking of them.  Sending a piece of yourself out there to someone, a thing with no expectations or attachments.

Ah, now.  That’s the real magic, I think.

At the risk of sounding cheesy,- I truly believe one of the most lovely feelings in the world is sending a little surprise out there to someone and imagining the look of wonder on their face as they are opening it. I believe it is a nice habit to cultivate, this unexpected sharing with a far-away friend, and perhaps something you can even build a bit of a weekly or monthly ritual around. Brew a pot of tea, light some candles or incense (or forego all of that and just spritz yourself from head to toe with your favorite scent) put on a bit of music, and spend some time penning a note to friend. Wrap up a small gift that you’ve been meaning to send – don’t wait, do it now. If you wait until you are in the mood, you will never do it.  I can’t tell you what will work best for you, but as for me, I like to send a small note to a new friend, along with perfume samples,old recipes, song lists (along with a cd or a thumb drive of favorites) or hand knit items.  If I could draw I would probably include a doodle or two, but I cannot and I am terribly self-conscious about my lack of talent in that department, so you are not likely to see that from me!

Chocolate hippo crack from A.

Chocolate hippo crack from A.

I have received some wonderful packages in the past few years from friends all over the world, in all sorts of places. I have included photos of some of these treasures here.  Unfortunately, I never take any pictures of the things that I mail out.  I will have to work on that. And it’s weird, writing that – “friends all over the place”. I don’t think of myself as someone who makes friends easily, who has a lot of friends.  And yet, I somehow, I have? How did this happen? I don’t know, but I don’t want to take it for granted, and so I try to appreciate my friends in small ways, whenever I can. Mailbox magics!

9 Comments on Little magics : postal apparitions, mailbox rituals

  1. Drax
    November 10, 2014 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    You make feel so guilty! I never kept up w/ those damn specialty postcards!!

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      November 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm (3 years ago)

      No guilt allowed! To think that you did that for me – even once – makes me very happy :)

      Reply
  2. OTB
    November 10, 2014 at 10:58 pm (3 years ago)

    Lovely! I want to be like, “Let’s be penpals!!!” but we already kind of are! I just need to be better in the mailing department…I have a hard time getting to the P.O. before it closes, I miss having a regular day off to do so. But no more excuses! Your packages are the most amazing things, and I esp. love how you tuck things inside books or nooks and crannies…I’ll never forget the baggie of autumn leaves you sent to Okinawa either. And also how is Wonderoud?! I’ve been so curious about that.

    Reply
    • S. Elizabeth
      November 11, 2014 at 12:55 am (3 years ago)

      Wonderoud, at least the other day , was very heavy. It seems to me that Cruella deVille might wear a scent like this! It really was pretty stifling, almost like a puppyfur stole wrapped tightly about the throat! Today it seemed lighter, but it’s definitely a very …sophisticated smelling scent.
      Wearing it reminds me that I am a bumpkin.

      And yes – ! I am sure that I owe you a note or two. Did you ever try Chanel Sycomore? The scent that smells like glamping? I am going to set aside the rest of my sample as an excuse to put together a little package for you :)

      Reply
      • OTB
        November 11, 2014 at 1:19 am (3 years ago)

        No, I didn’t try it yet! That is definitely something I am curious about, I love the trees in real life anyway. Same here, I am getting something together too!! Hmm, maybe Wonderoud is too sophisticated for me…but I do usually love oud. I remember I thought Amazinggreen was going to be awesome and it was kind of blah. And CdG 3 smelled like rotten celery on me.

        Reply
        • S. Elizabeth
          November 11, 2014 at 1:31 am (3 years ago)

          Well, hold off on getting a sample of the Wonderoud – I will throw that in there, too!

          Reply
  3. lau
    November 11, 2014 at 1:01 am (3 years ago)

    i still think of how sweet it was for you to send me all of those herbs for my ailments way back when. you are a great packeege maker. <3

    Reply
  4. Maika
    November 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm (3 years ago)

    Now I’m even more excited to begin exchanging mail with you. :)

    Reply
  5. Jenn B.
    January 16, 2015 at 6:54 pm (3 years ago)

    and I come along this one! I love that you do this! At the end of the semester I used to sell my textbooks back to amazon for amazon credit. Then I would buy things off of people’s wish lists and have them sent as a gift. They would open packages and have no idea who got them something they wanted. Beautiful little gifts from the universe. Sadly amazon started including the purchaser’s name so it ruined the mystery of it all. =(

    Reply

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