Love receiving ‘real’ letters, and so was thrilled to find this beautiful envelope in the letter box, apparently made from an old map. I’ve come across map-made envelopes before, but they put the map on the inside so the outside was white and you only saw the contour lines when you opened the letter.

I prefer it this way; you see the map as soon as you receive the letter, even if there is a mild inconvenience for the sender of having to write the address on a label rather than directly on the envelope. Worth it though, for the sense of geographic distance covered by a letter on its travels from the sender to the recipient, and the promise of news from afar.

This was a double pleasure because it is another signal of the continuing recovery of a brother who two years ago stepped over another border (that separating life from its alternative), and then stepped back with the help of those ‘key workers’ we are now regularly clapping.

When he emerged from his stupor, we quickly realized he had no difficulty reading, even the scrappy scrawls of well-wishing friends. However, his own impeccable hand-writing took some rebuilding. It’s about a year since I received the first testimony to this recovery in a three-page letter I read in a cafĂ© in Vicenza. The one-pager just received re-affirmed that the journey back from beyond has been completed.

Given the pleasure he takes in writing such letters, and we all in receiving them, this is yet another blessing.

Must dash, letters to write.

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