I think it was Mark Twain who said, “I did not have time to write you a short letter, so I have written you a long one instead.” Here I have done the opposite. I do have time for a long letter, but I have written a short one instead. It will only take you a moment but I hope you enjoy it.
So, take your letter opener. Mine is of a beautiful dark wood from Africa. Take your letter opener, slide it under the flap of the envelope, and cut out the stamp from the envelope and keep it for your collection. Then take out the crisp sheet, unfold it and start to read.
Ah, those were the days, my friend, those were the days when letter-writing was an art! In those days we waited for the postman. In Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’, which is still fit and well in London’s West End after 65 years without a break, a character says she must go and write her letters and off she goes. In the 50s this was a daily routine like getting up or having lunch. Now we try to catch up with our emails, but our letters? The days of the writing pad and the fountain pen are long gone, stored in the memory with other aspects of gracious living. Now we grab the smart phone and while walking down the street we answer emails which I, at least, find to be a chore, a heavy duty, and one which I tackle without enthusiasm.
But to business. Last week I took the plane from Palma to Madrid and somewhere over the coast near Valencia I noticed a fly land on my newspaper. It must have flown in with us as we filed into the plane and looked for our seats. It spent the flight going from passenger to passenger, swatted away by some and ignored by others. It then went out with us when we left the plane at Barajas Airport. There the fly was five hundred miles from home, from the flowers it knew and loved and all the other flies it had flown around with in the houses and gardens of Palma.
Such a change cannot have been easy to deal with.
“As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport.” said Gloucester in ‘King Lear’. This fly now has to manage in the hubbub and commotion of Madrid far from the sandy beaches that it was used to in Mallorca.
We never know what is in store for us. We too are shuffled about hither and thither, and we have to find our feet after each upheaval. We do our best to get by. That is all we can do. That and helping others along the road if we can. Anyway, I hope that this fly managed to enjoy its new life in the crowded streets of Madrid.