& The Art of a Handwritten Note
Photography by Sallie Hart Williams
I have enjoyed capturing moments on film since a black and white photography class I took in high school and I continue to look at the world through a lens. Hydrangeas change from bold pinks to purples to classic blues based on the soil. Sunflowers are an anchor in a garden the way they bend to the sun, especially when planted in long skinny rows along the Biltmore Estate fields. Trees and forests offer so many universal lessons for life. Collecting leaves in the fall and observing the vivid burst of color moving across the blue ridge mountains in the fall is enough to trigger timeless childhood memories. Evergreens and berries provide the comfort of nature during the holidays. The stillness of a gentle snowfall or the intimacy of the rain on a tin roof remind us of the cycle of life through the ever-changing seasons.
I grew up appreciating snail mail and designing my own cards for graduations, birthdays and invitations for celebrations. My mother always joked that Hallmark was going to hire me one day. Maybe it was because she sent more birthday cards than anyone I’ve ever known. She would take us to the Hallmark store in the mall on a regular basis to see who could find the funniest cards and have a good laugh. She always knew who had a birthday coming up so she would buy the best ones, with an extra to have on hand. In the days before social media blasted birthday reminders, she would transfer a year of birthdays each January into the new wall calendar we religiously gave her at Christmas. She would send funny cards with handwritten notes, make phone calls or just simply remember the day each of those people were born.
The root of a handwritten note is a practice in gratitude. It is an opportunity to savor a moment, an intentional way to honor and appreciate a person or an action. It feels good to write a thoughtful note by hand, and a kind gesture to receive. While phone calls and emails are excellent ways to stay in touch, sending thoughtful handwritten notes speak to a depth of connection in the relationships we have with each other. Actions speak louder than words. My hope is that these cards, and their personal messages, bring joy and the essence of an embrace.