William James, the 19th century American philosopher, once said, “As long as there are postmen life will have zest.” Does your life have enough zest? Zest is good. Zest is great! It’s not the good looks of those postmen or their winning personalities (although having friendly, good looking postmen never hurt anything), but no, it’s the presents they deposit in our mail boxes that add zest to life…
presents that arrive in packages like this 8 by 12 inch package pictured above. My postman deposited this goodie in my mail box the other day. It came from my pen friend Tracy who lives in Guildford, England. The package could have contained a large juicy letter, a very large letter by the huge size of the package, and a large juicy letter would’ve been just fine with me, but no! This package contained something different. I bet you’re wondering just what. I enjoyed wondering myself, and I tell you, this sort of wondering truly adds zest to life. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a present?
I opened the package to find this birdie looking back at me, a life size blue tit. Of course it wasn’t a live birdie. How could that be? But it was a very special birdie because when I opened the card it began to sing its unique and cheerful song for me. Seeing this beautiful birdie and hearing its music was really quite a delightful surprise, especially for one who love birdies – and I do. Do you?
In Tracy’s note she explained how she couldn’t resist sending me this birdie card because the blue tit is one of her favorite feathered friends. These birds nested in her bird box and 6 fledglings hatched out. I know that sharing doubled her joy and her sharing brought joy to me as well.
Writing letters will present things to us we never expected to see and letters will teach us things we never expected to learn. From Tracy’s card I learned that the blue tits colorful mix of blue. yellow, white and green makes it one of the most attractive resident garden birds around. I learned almost any garden with a peanut feeder will attract blue tits, and as Tracy said, they breed in nest boxes. In winter they form flocks with other tit species and a garden bird table with four or five sitting together at one time is not unusual, in fact, you may even see 20 tits feeding at one time. All I know is I better get myself a peanut feeder so I can soon see these birdies in my own garden .
All the material goodies used in letters make it a physical delight – birdies singing, even Tracy’s cute note paper with its very English “Secret Garden” look – sweet and romantic. And of course letter writing is social. I get to know more and more about Tracy in every letter. Letter writing means learning. It is very intellectual for letters teach us things we might never bother to learn any other way. And there’s a spiritual aspect to letters too.
I had to create a letter for Tracy right away thanking her for that birdie card. I created one of my polka dot letter packages for Tracy. I placed my written letter inside a sheet of folded polka dot card stock and tied it with ribbon in a matching color. Now I’ll have to keep my eyes open for some delightful little gift to send to Tracy, a gift that will brighten her day just as her gift brightened mine.
It’s not about the price of the gift. It’s about our thoughtfulness. Just a little bit of joy sent with or even without a letter really can make someone’s day. It sure made my day to receive that birdie card. Thinking of others and trying to cheer them is always a very nice thing we can do. Thinking and caring about others as we write letters and send goodies to each other is a spiritual gesture.
So I hope you notice whether we’re at the giving or receiving end of letters there’s a juicy zest that spritzes forth from them making life just a little bit better for everyone concerned. Postmen (and Postladies too) play a big part in all this happiness. So I hope you see how William James was spot on when he said,.
“As long as there are postmen life will truly have zest! “