Believe it or not, the prevalence of email hasn't killed the flow of snail mail that we get here at the magazine. The mail carrier regularly delivers not only letters with compliments, complaints and queries, but also photographs, poems, essays and personal reminiscences about parks.
Recently, two oversized envelopes arrived at our office. In one, Arleen Reiff had enclosed the original spiral-bound journal she kept on a 1950 journey to see the West and its many national parks. The other package contained a copy of all the letters that newlyweds Nan and Dick Beckman wrote to their parents from Grand Teton National Park when Dick had a ranger job there in the summer of 1957.
Many things have changed in the 60 years since these folks embarked on their adventures: $6 hotel rooms. A Technicolor movie about Bryce Canyon. Ranger slideshows--with slides! But other parts of their accounts feel timeless. "It seems like you could look for hours and never see it all," Arleen wrote about the Grand Canyon. And Nan described an afternoon hailstorm this way: "When the storm was over, the air was heavy with the pungent scent of pines and everything glistened fresh and new." At the end of the summer, Nan wrote: "This wonderful park with its peerless mountains, winding trails, exhilarating storms and ever-changing skies will remain in our hearts forever. And so ends a magical experience in the most beautiful place in the world."
It is moving to think about generation after generation of people feeling dazzled, awed, welcomed, comforted and transformed by national parks. Seasons change, times change, political landscapes change, people change, the country changes--but these lands, our lands, are there for us.
Please keep the mail coming!
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|Title Annotation:||Editor's Note|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2017|
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