During a month when two close friends left the city we’ve shared and two more loved ones announced their plans to move – one to the coast, one across the ocean – I’ve been thinking a lot about keeping in touch, about staying connected to the people I love, wherever they are.
It can be a wonderful thing to have friends and family spread across the globe, as so many of us do; to see loved ones being where they need or want to be, for now or maybe for always, fulfilling dreams or just trying new things, coming home from travels with new friendships and lasting bonds.
But there can be loss and disconnection in the distances between us too – not being able to pop round for a cuppa or offer a hug. Even when the distances aren’t great, it can be hard to keep in touch in ways that feel meaningful and significant, to keep connections going.
There are so many ways to stay in touch now, at any distance. A quick text or social media update, a Skype chat or email can be invaluable.
But sometimes something more tangible is needed, something to hold, perhaps even to plant and watch grow, or just to pop on a shelf to glance at. Something slower. This is where my love of sending (and receiving!) things in the post comes in.
My friend Rachel and I used to live just a few streets apart and before that we shared classrooms and corridors at school. I moved away to London in my early 20s while she stayed closer to our geographical roots.
We’re not far apart, as the crow flies, but not ‘popping round’ distance either, especially factoring in childcare logistics. So we began a practice of sending one another things in the post. Just little things, nothing big or expensive.