by Sara Dykman
If you’ve ever seen me open my mailbox and find a postcard inside, then you know postcards are my favorite kind of mail. Unlike a letter or card, there is never a empty spot. The words curve around the edges and fight with the stamp for space. The post office adds their own stamp to the mix and soon the postcard develops the haggard look of a well-traveled adventurer. And it develops two stories: the story written in ink and the story written in tears, folds and smeared ink.
There are no secrets in a postcard. On one side you have a photo that shouts of an arrival. They range from cheesy to great, and often they are both. On the other side they have a short message that anyone can read. Do mail carriers read postcards?
I like the shortness of postcards. At first you want to compare it to a text or Facebook update, but it is a different kind of shortness. Postcards take work to send. Even a postcard about nothing is something. And because of that, the shortness says something big.
And then there is the magic of it all. On a small piece of paper we put a message, an address and a stamp. Then we slide it through a slot and expect it to get to that address, moving pile to pile, hand to hand to the intended mail box. And the postcard doesn’t even have an envelope to protect it, so when it arrives, it arrives worn. It proves the distance.
Now what does this have to do with On The River? Well, because I love postcards, I am offering a trade. If you donate to On The River, help us with our bills (a tripod for the videos, food for the miles, sunscreen…), then I will send you a hand painted postcard. Sure cheesy postcards are great but hand painted ones are even better. Trust me, you’ll see.