Messages in Bottles

Hi, whoever you are. I don’t know you, nor you me but right now we are connected.
In a way this is my time capsule. I reach out to you from the year 2020, a year significant to me but since I don’t know when you are I can only ever ask you to look it up. I hope the world you are in is a brighter one. One where fascism and intolerance has gone out of fashion again and where imminent climate disaster has been avoided or at least dealt with.

If things are still bleak, I want to offer you my words of encouragement. Remember that goodness in humans is like a weed, no matter how hard people try to stamp it out it will bloom though the asphalt sooner or later. So remember to value your and other’s life. It is, as far as we know, the only time weird combination of electricity and interpretation that is us will experience.

There will undoubtedly be difficult times ahead in your life. You will lose people and you will wonder about the meaning of it all. I can’t tell you there is any meaning in it, any purpose to your suffering. I can’t even say that things will get better. But I hope it will. I hope you will find strength to continue on and to let the hard times be used as fertiliser for you to grow your kindness and your compassion.

This paper is reaching its end and I hope you, whoever and whenever you are, found some food for thought in here.
Love and compassion.
Edgar H. Swift

Hello, you.

I want to say I know you but the world spins so rapidly that there is no posibility that I can predict you. Instead, I will imagine a facsimile of you that is actually me, sitting where I sit now, in this 5-star hotel room. The olive-green settee I have pushed so that it protrudes out into the balcony. It affords me a lovely view of the woods that speckled this resort island, just off the coast of my country. I will be quarantined here for another ten more days, but afterwards, I will return to my family and my countrymen who have never liked the way I speak, and the job I do so wish to have but don’t hold out much hope for.

I imagine that you are sitting where I am sitting, on holiday. Your partner laughs at the audacity of your shifting the furniture and blocking the balcony all together, but only warns you teasingly of the monkeys. Your stomach aches slightly from the souvenirs you bought for your family but could not resist eating the night before. Your day is filled with sightseeing and fun activities outside of this room. You are content.

Has the world changed?

I imagine that it is brighter now, and scrubbed clean of the plague. We have always been good at pretending that everything is fine, but when everything is so clearly not, I hope that we have gotten better at taking action. That we are spurred by a vicious sense of justice, by a dominating kindness. That we no longer overlook the parts of society that we would had not acknowledged in the past, my present, and instead rally to their aid.

There is no way for you to tell me that the world has changed for the better, but I choose to imagine it anyway. I will strive towards it.

Do you hear that? The doorbell, pressed thrice in quick, impatient succession. In a minute, when the hotel staff has left, I can collect my breakfast from the little stool outside my door.

A last tip. Eat breakfast outside. Room service is fine, but the food on the mainland is better.

With love and all the warmth of this tropical island,


Dear Illias of the tropical island,

I found your message today. It’s not been years. A few months perhaps. The tides have changed or perhaps they always moved this way. I’ve never investigated. Wherever you are in the world, your bottle made it over to another tropical land. It floated up to my feet on my morning walk. My dog sniffed and barked at it. It was like being in a movie, finding this message in a bottle. Nowadays, nothing ships by ‘snail mail’ or bottles or pigeons for that matter. I imagine a glass tube, like one that Terry Pratchett might conjure up, where mails fly through tubes. So many imaginings of our world. It’s the simple ones that intrigue me. The connections we have via wind, via sea. The butterfly remains the most intriguing.

I write to you but I know that you is not the you that reads this. You reader, are privy to a letter meant for another. Never mind. It’s just another jaunt into an imagined world where Illias does in fact receive this message though by this time it’s hardly a message, too lengthy to be so defined.

How did you pass the time these past nine months? Or perhaps, you do not read this within the month or even within 2020, but later into 2021? Or perhaps, you found this inside a dead turtle, many years from now because we foolishly thought that our messages were harmless, that they wouldn’t hurt the creatures that inhabit the waters.

I do hope nevertheless, that your days have been healthy, productive and most of all joyful.

Do write soon.
Pigeon seems a better carrier.


1 Like