Near Union Station, on Massachusetts Avenue, you can find the United States Postal Museum. On each corner of the building, there are pieces of a poem called "The Letter" carved into the stone.
Messenger of Sympathy and Love
Servant of Parted Friends
Consoler of the Lonely
Bond of the Scattered Family
Enlarger of the Common Life
Carrier of News and Knowledge
Instrument of Trade and Industry
Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance
Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.
Every time we drive or walk by, I start to tear up when I read it. It’s a simple and perhaps maudlin sentiment, but there is nothing quite like receiving a piece of mail that is destined for only you.
In our super-fast, super-connected society, there are few low-tech thrills left. But receiving mail is still one of THE. BEST. THRILLS. EVER.
There is something so poetic and magical about a letter or a parcel that comes from mysterious lands far away and sometimes comes covered in scripts of different languages. You can imagine this inanimate traveler seeing sights that are its secret and which it will reveal to you if your name happens to be inscribed on its exterior.
Foreign stamps; a dent with a different color of dirt; different smells, or pen inks or tape; sometimes even shavings from strange-looking newsprint: all signs that the package has traveled a long way to brighten a cold morning.
To Melissa: Thank you so very much for the thoughtful and lovely package. Really: thank you. Everything looks wonderful and I can’t wait for the water to finish boiling! (what to try first…..)
I need your new address, please!
To the United States Postal Service: Thank you for carrying our mail through rain and sleet and snow.