Day 2: Snail Mail

A surprising source of connection in a year of separation.

Brad Phillips
2 min readJan 2, 2021
Photo by Ellen Auer on Unsplash

2020 was a unique year in many respects. For my family, it necessitated staying remote for the Holiday Season for the first time in our adult lives. Not being able to be physically present in the spaces I’d grown up in and with the people I’d come up with during this time of year had placed me in a bit of a comatose state. It was difficult to acknowledge the special feelings that so often accompany the increasingly rare reunions with family and friends.

Yesterday, an unlikely savior of Holiday cheer presented itself: The Christmas Card — that tried and true, time-honored tradition of family photo sharing and well-wishing via the United States Postal Service.

In years past, I’d likely have smirked as I casually glanced at the merry contents of this particular red envelope and not given it a second thought. I was understandably perplexed, then, when I noticed a glimmer of excitement as peeled open the letter and began devouring its contents. It was a lovely note, scribbled hurriedly, and yet it managed to take me back through a series of powerful months I’d invested in a successful project over the last year. I read the note several more times, smiling brighter each go-around.

Similar to music on vinyl, the hand-written word carries a weight and impact for me that is impossible to replicate in other mediums. The letters and words carry stories with them that speak beyond and alongside the ideas that they illustrate through their sentences.

This morning, I spent my time writing letters to my family and friends. With each letter, I got to have a moment with that person I hadn’t expected I’d get to have this Season. I got to imagine them eventually opening my note and spending a few moments with me as well. Connection is vital to the human condition, and I’ve been reminded that connection can occur in a myriad of unexpected forms.

I’m grateful for time with those that I had once thought lost.