I jot things down. All kinds of things. My desk is littered with notes to self, ideas for projects, workout plans, recipes, reminders, phone numbers, books I want to read. It is a bit obsessive. I finally broke down and started putting things in various journals. I have several with their own more specific contents: Quotes, business ideas and product designs, workouts, sketches, and one for oddities that don't fit any of the other journals.
The point behind this is that I jot things down on random bits of paper. Today, I was picking up a small avalanche of papers that I had boxed up to burn, because they had too much financial and personal info to just toss in the garbage. Some of these were from a purge from boxes that have moved with me several times, boxes marked, "Misc Stuff From Desk." Yeah, that kind of stuff. Some of it was old, old, old checkbook registers (like 15+ years old), old tax stuff, random bits and bobs. You get the idea. Anyway, one neatly folded piece of paper caught my eye because it had a quote scribbled on the back, "There is much to be Known and above all much to be Loved, be it the turn of the Seasons or the shape of a river pebble." I stuffed it in my pocket because I wanted to transfer it to the journal of quotes (told you, I am a bit obsessive). I don't remember writing this quote down, and was pretty sure it was from a few years back.
So, I finished with my random chores, made myself a cup of tea, and then remembered the paper I had stuffed in my pocket. I reread the quote, savoring it, and thinking it was a timely and timeless note to self. Then I unfolded the paper it was written on, It was two pages, I glanced at the second page first, just because of how I unfolded it, it was typed, on an actual typewriter, and the first line was "For children, the most important thing is that they are allowed to build a conceptual model of the world that allows them to both understand the world they encounter and cope with the new aspects of the world that do not readily fit their model." My first thought was that it was something from a home-schooling seminar I may have attended. So I looked at the first page. It was a letter to me.
It was a letter from a friend, an honest-to-god penpal from about 20 years ago. His name was/is Graeme, and he lived/lives in Ayrshire, Scotland. We never met face to face, never talked on the phone, I don't even really remember how or why we started corresponding. But we wrote to each other, via international snail mail, for several years. This was before the internet was very functional, besides he didn't have computer access in his remote farmhouse on the edge of nowhere. Hell, I don't think I had a computer or an email at this point either. Yeah, it was that long ago.
The letter was long and well written. I remember always being astonished by his intelligence and education, he had a degree in philosophy. He was a mentor. We had met while I was exploring Celtic Druidism, as was he. He had a vast wealth of knowledge of so many things. This particular letter was written shortly before Alban Eilar, the Spring Equinox, probably 22 years ago. Reading it through, I was struck by the topics that were covered, including climate change, family, our mutual struggles with winter depression, and the education of children. It could have been written this year and still been pertinent to my life
One line, a quote from one of his favorite authors, John Ruskin (we both jot down quotes, you see), was, "There is no wealth but Life." This, as you may know, has been a driving force behind many of my actions these last few years. The soul deep knowledge that my life is far better spent pursuing what is important to my life, than it is in the pursuit of money, status, or climbing a corporate ladder.
I'm going to keep this letter, tucked away in one of my journals, as a reminder. As much a reminder of a friend and mentor, who reached out to a stranger halfway around the world, to share ideas, spirituality, and a piece of their life and soul. I had nearly forgotten Graeme, not quite, but nearly. It was a Note from The Past, a voice in the darkness, a reminder that although things change, the important things remain the same. Thank you, Graeme.