A couple of weeks ago, I was heading to visit the printer on an errand for work. The air was cool and it felt good to be outside despite the buzzing traffic. I hiked up the steep hill to my destination on the sidewalk of a busy overpass street above the highway.
Along the way I noticed postage stamps EVERYWHERE. Some seemed like they were caught on the concrete and some were blowing in the wind of traffic. I felt sad as I imagined the person who had collected these stamps over the years…I imagined him (for some reason I imagined a grandfather figure) bent over his desk in a nook of his house with a magnifying glass admiring his collection. I imagined him painstakingly preserving the postage stamps to keep them in good condition. I imagined him receiving letters from friends and carefully tearing the stamp off of the envelope.
How were they lost? Was this collection an heirloom? Did they fall out of someone’s bag or folder? Did someone purposefully let them go in the wind out their car or apartment window? Was someone moving in a pickup truck and an open box let all the stamps out?
I wanted to pick up the stamps. I wanted to save this person’s passion. But I continued walking toward my destination, hoping that the stamps would still be there when I walked back.
I remembered that I had read some article on the interwebs recommending that you do one thing every day or every week that you are afraid of. It said you should put yourself out of your comfort zone and do things that you wouldn’t normally do. Because it makes you interesting. Because it makes your life interesting. Picking up stamps off the ground isn’t exactly a novel experience, but I wouldn’t usually stop on a busy overpass to pick up bits of paper.
On the way back to my car that afternoon, the stamps were still there. I walked down the hill, bending down every two steps to pick up a stamp or three or four. People stopped. People asked me what I was doing. People helped me pick up some of the stamps. I shared some smiles and some hellos. Most people who walked up this hill probably saw the stamps. They were hard to miss. I wonder if others had the same thoughts or feelings I had. I wonder if they were indifferent.
There are lots of good ones in the collection. There are christmas stamps, stamps from many different countries, stamps with planets on them, stamps that advocate for the environment.
It made me wonder, why are most stamps these days just American flags that say “Freedom” or “Liberty”? We have gotten pretty boring in our stamp designs! I found a couple of websites like Zazzle that allow you to make custom stamps. But I wonder how one makes their stamps available to the public through the post office or the grocery store.