Sealed Envelope

Do you ever hide secret notes for your future self, promptly forget, and then find one later squished in some random spot, and go huh?

Last night I found one of mine. We were looking for a certain software CD—we checked the shelves in the living room, the computer boxes, the shelves in the bedroom, the cabinet, anywhere we could think—when I got distracted. I had found, slipped in between some random objects under the loft, a business-size envelope. Written on the front in my own handwriting was the name of the writers’ colony I had spent the month of April at two years ago. It was stuffed full of something. And completely sealed.


Was it something I was supposed to send them and never did? But there was nothing I would need to send back to the colony after leaving it—it was one of those places where you are given the gift to simply be there, you don’t pay, though they house you, and feed you, and drive you to town if you want to go to town. You’re not even expected to do the project you said you’d do when applying (in fact, I ended up doing a different one). There is nothing to prove to them, so there would be no need to send them any kind of papers.

Was this envelope put away for a reason? Why was it sealed?

I tore it open.

Inside were pages from the notebook I carried around with me that April two years ago. I must have torn them out, folded them up, and sealed them in here. I let out a breath upon seeing them. I remembered the notebook. I remembered scribbling these pages. I remembered that studio I lived in with the grand piano and the chandelier, a small house at least three times the size of my New York apartment, and all for me. I remember the air up there at the colony, the way it smelled, I can’t ever forget the smell. I remembered the divine banana-coconut muffins that the chef made some lucky mornings. And—more than any of that—I remember being more inspired than I have ever been in my entire life.

I considered quoting randomly from the pages in this post, but I won’t. I don’t think what’s scrawled in there will carry any real weight, except to me. For instance, I scribbled about being outside on my rock, writing. None of you know that I had a favorite rock outside my studio where I would go to sit. Why would you? Me, in love with a rock? It doesn’t make sense. But it happened.

This sealed envelope was a little present I must have left for myself, to remember. I have no memory of doing that, but how sweet of me to think of me, you know? It was a good find. Though—it should be noted—we did not succeed in finding the CD.

9 responses to “Sealed Envelope”

  1. Oh my gosh, I DO do that. When I was little (second grade?) I started writing notes to my future selves to open on certain birthdays. Every new years I made a list of stuff (wishes, predictions, memories from the past year) and I don’t read it till the next year. Always interesting.

    And I had a similar experience recently (maybe I’ll go blog about it). I had lost my journal from when I lived abroad. I was so, so sad about it and looked everywhere, called people I’d stayed with and it was just gone. It was from 4 years ago. Two weeks ago, it showed up in the mail. Someone found it and found me and mailed it to me. Somehow, when we need them, things come back to us. Sometimes the original things, sometimes in a new way. There is was–I am overjoyed about it.


  2. I went to a leadership camp in the eleventh grade and they had us write ourselves letters that they would send to us when we got to college. I remember one kid put ten dollars in his envelope. He said that’d do him a lot more good than anything else. I was actually pretty impressed with how practical he was.

    Still, I’d rather get the pages from a notebook that’re full of lovely visions of a time and a place that made me happy.


  3. That’s a good find! I found one that I wrote to myself my second (?) year at Antioch awhile back. It was a weird rambling (duh!) letter to myself from a strange place- a place where I had hope. I wish I could find it again right now and re-read it.


  4. How fun! I’ve never done this, but now I will. And I completely get your being in love with a rock. It’s happened to me too 🙂


  5. My computer holds future gifts for me. Sometimes, in searching for something I really need, I will find work I’d forgotten I’d written. It’s as if you take little parts of yourself, and knowing you can’t carry everything, put them into storage. They can seem the work of someone else or yesterday’s work, but they make me feel fuller to add them back.

    Thank you for offering us this gift second-hand.


  6. Oh, what a neat thing that would be to find, and what a great entry. I don’t leave notes to myself but after reading this, I really want to start.


  7. It makes perfect sense to love a rock that was witness to some of the most inspired moments of your life. And it was very thoughtful of you to write yourself a secret letter. Maybe you should write back?


  8. Yes. I do that. Unfortunately I’ve had parents find and read them, which is just embarrassing.


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