On our Rural Route the mailbox is a long way from the house. One of my daily pleasures has been to walk the quarter-mile at least once a day to pick up the mail and the newspaper. Long ago I wrote about the meager fare in my mail box—just catalogs, solicitations for donations, amazing credit card offers and advertisements. Christmas season is a little better or when someone here is sick and gets well wishes. But one constant, even on postal holidays, has been the daily newspaper tucked in the holder beneath the box. I’ve been a paper-reader all my adult life. When we moved to Michigan I missed the morning paper but adjusted to getting the GR Press mid-day out of the distant box. Now days before I take that walk for the local paper, I have browsed the New York Times and national highlights on Google where I can even get local headlines.
But times are changing. The Press announced an end to daily home delivery, now reduced to three days a week so I’ll have to go on-line for local daily news. Will this end the mostly pleasurable, and certainly good for me, jaunt down the drive every day? The reward of “stuff” waiting for me—was that just an excuse? Without that reason will I leave my desk? The daily ritual has its rewards: seeing, hearing, smelling the natural world throughout the seasons. A casual glance doesn’t do it, you have to become one with the landscape.
Two days ago I finally got a glimpse of the palliated woodpecker that I have listened to for over a decade. Today the swan family returned to the lake, foraging on the icy surface. The tall grasses take on a different hue depending on the time and temperature of day. Even in winter variation abounds.
So I vow again—neither rain, nor snow nor sleet nor empty mailboxes will keep me from my appointed rounds. It was never about the stuff.
ALL NATURE SINGS
A Spiritual Journey of Place
by Carol J. Rottman