I sat at the kitchen table tonight and wrote a letter to a friend. I suppose you could call her an old friend now, because we were both much younger when we really became friends, before houses and kids and responsibilities much beyond taking the dog out before going to bed. We were young twenties then, everyone coming together over six packs and cards, and slowly, we all moved away and now no one lives close enough to just drop in or make plans for the same evening. We’re close in a different way now, as young-ish mamas and old-ish friends, sharing and commiserating sporadically but earnestly.
As I sat and thought about what I wanted to tell her that hadn’t made it into a text message, I could hear the spring peepers from the bog down the street. They’re loud tonight, even through the closed windows. The last time we visited our friends in the springtime, I was pregnant with Beans. We took the bigger girls out to see the tadpoles in a marshy area not far from their house, and slopped around in the muck. Beanie joined us almost a month later. I think she will enjoy learning about tadpoles this spring.
“There is this to be said for writing a letter instead of having lunch downtown: when you are writing a letter, you are thinking only of the person who is going to receive it. Nothing else is bidding for a share of your attention – neither the funny hat on the woman at the next table, nor the quality of the service, nor the nagging worry as to whether that odd sensation around the calf of your leg a moment ago was or was not a run starting in your new stockings. In short, there is no static.”
– Louise Dickinson Rich, We Took to the Woods
Writing a letter, a real letter, provides such a break for me: the act of sitting down away from the electronics of my day job and away from the beautiful distractions of my life. I enjoy everything about it, from selecting the paper and pen, to concentrating on my handwriting and the words I’m sharing, even to choosing the pretty stamps at the post office. My friend Emily wrote to me once that she stalks the mail carrier, hoping for a letter, and I had to laugh because I do the same. Writing to someone means you have the chance of getting a letter in return, and in reading it, knowing that for that moment, your friend was thinking only of you.
Now the rain is thumping hard on the skylight in the bathroom, drowning out the peepers, and the dog is chasing bunnies in his sleep, whimpering and snuffling on his blanket. My little ones are also asleep. We are coming off of several weeks of serious spring colds around here, hearing them cough in their beds after dark. They’re quiet tonight, thankfully; all I can hear is the rain and my own jumbled thoughts at the end of a long, long week.