the 3,000 Mile Garden


… a telling made up in letters

It was part of the daily staffing routines – personal correspondence. Both Senators Blunt & Ashcroft insisted on spending time – usually while we were in transit to a meeting or while idling in the puddle-jumper. Penning personal notes. Brief, often just a sentence or two, dashed off, yet personal, handwritten and demanding of time. 

With the slower, Covid pace of life it seems more of us are taking the few extra seconds it requires to PM or addend a few extra words to a post. Soo much more than the hurried, impersonal ‘like’ or even the empty-ish Instagram pic. 

In marketing parlance, even a few words makes the interaction more ‘sticky’. It slows us down, allows a more complete transfer of a sentiment, of a tale…

Funny how much can be revealed in a letter. 

Even a long letter demands much of its brevity. Some marshaling of thoughts and words, some premeditation. Those who study the brain say that the very process of writing itself contributes to forming / allowing a different kind of personality, a deeper processing of the world around it and our relationship to it all. 

I still recall waiting for the daily mail: Christmas cards; a postcard from a friend far from home on vacation (I love Ian Anderson’s splendid tune: “Postcard Day”: 

But it was always the delivery of an envelope, it’s outer shell bruised with travel, marked with directions and postaged with some colorful stamp – if you were anything like me, time and thought were committed, reviewing the dozen or so new stamps under the glass at the counter, choosing just the right one.

Books and their narratives – be they fictional (Bram Stoker’s Dracula) or theological (the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians) or biographical (Helene Hanf’s poignant delight: “84 Charing Cross Road”) often assume the affectation of an interchange of letters.

With spring at last unfurling, perhaps, THE 3,000-MILE GARDEN – a series of musings on horticulture: climate, garden design, rare and common cultivars, soils, mulches, pests… the deep seated, human attraction for growing things. Laid out in the lyrical correspondence between American, Land, a food writer and cook and British photographer, Philips. $9