Of Mailboxes and Telephone Poles

The trip to the mailbox is usually uneventful. Oh, it can be complicated when True or Prudence ask to come along. I always say yes to their earnest offers of ‘help,’ although what follows is normally a search for shoes (not to mention socks) and in colder months, boots and jackets must also be located. Once the child assembly line is finished – its off to the mailbox we go. The trip is about twenty yards in length, but with various stops for butterflies and dandelions (or snowballs depending on the season) the short journey can become epic.

I am not sure there will always be mailboxes at the end of our driveways. As societal technology continues to advance, the letter and postage stamp are becoming old news. Who wants to write, when, with at a button’s touch, we can talk real time, face to face on our smart phone? Circulars and advertising cards still frequent our mail boxes but they are ‘second class’ materials. First class indicates speedy importance and ever since the Pony Express days, the Us Postal System hasn’t truly been built for speed. How can anything compete with ‘instant?’

I used to tell my children to take a good look at the telephone poles that line our roadways. I figured that by the time they reached my age – those poles will be a thing of the past. With the world going wireless it seems quite likely. Any new neighborhood development buries communication wires under the ground now. I am not sure whose idea it was to line roadways with large immovable poles anyway. If we had just found a way to back them up a good distance, thousands of lives would have been saved. Cars smash into telephone poles all too often. So, good riddance to them. Okay, I will climb off my soapbox.

Back to my trip to the mailbox, soapbox to mailbox. The kids were at Grandma’s, so I made the trip alone. I pulled open the little door, reached in and WOW! There was something hot in there! I yanked my hand out of the box and along came a hornet with it. He was still stinging me as I shook him off. Apparently he had been working hard to establish a home in there, and he felt my efforts to retrieve the mail were an intrusion of the worst kind. He got me good, I’ll admit. My hand ached for over an hour. My pal, Doug got the best of him with a flyswatter and then removed what were the beginnings of a nest. Some places are just not good for flying (I should say, stinging) critters to live in. My hornet friend found his home was in a most temporary of places. Little did he comprehend the ins and outs of the US Mail delivery system. He fought hard to defend his ground, I’ll give him that. But, in the end he gave way to the inevitable. He couldn’t stay there.

We are a bit like my hornet friend. We construct homes as if we were going to dwell there forever. But like telephone poles and the Pony Express they don’t last. Not forever. We fight hard to keep things together, we paint and re-roof to stall the inevitable ravages of time. We hold to the temporary.

The tide of time is relentless and there is no stopping its waves from hitting against our meager walls of defense. We can become consumed by temporary things around us, but it is far better to work for an eternal home where time stands still – forever. So, take a lesson from a wasp in a mailbox. We can’t stay here. Its the way of the world. And, its a short walk to the next One.