Dear Richmond: You’ve Got Mail

In early March, we introduced the Grid Mailbox, a journal writing experiment created with the James River Park System. Located in a hidden spot along the trail, the vintage farmhouse mailbox is home to the “Dear Richmond” journal—a special place to write a love letter to RVA or something you wish would change about it, a call to action, hopes for a better future, or the words you need to hear.

Since planting the “Dear Richmond” community journals inside the hidden mailbox, Richmonders have documented their thoughts, left well wishes, and provided words of encouragement during the current pandemic. Along the way, the Richmond community has also used the mailbox to leave unexpected surprises, such as flowers for others to enjoy, hand sanitizer, art, and even a series of Lone Wolf Outdoor Club stickers as a tribute to those solo adventurers out there following social distancing guidelines. Here are just a few of the many journal entries this week in the “Dear Richmond” journal. 

“It’s random hidden mailboxes off the beaten path with notebooks and hand sanitizer that make Richmond such a special place. Thank you for this, it made my day.”

“This is our moment to rebuild. Focus in and decide what is worth your time and energy. Love everyone.”

“Hiking during some very interesting times. I started early today and I have never felt so at peace. The sun was low and climbing, trails were empty, and calling out through the birds’ voices and creeks tickling. There truly is nothing more beautiful and nothing more alive. Thank you.”

“Good morning, Richmond! I’m with a friend and we’re on a little jog. Been stepping up the miles since the quarantine. Just wanted to send y’all my love and keep that music playing in your soul.”

“Dear RVA, as a healthcare provider on the frontline, please continue the social distancing. That being said, get out there and run or bike…keep sane!”

“Running through creation with grateful hearts! It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s going to be alright.” 

“An object in motion stays in motion. Keep moving, you got this.” 

“This is so cool! Had the day off today so I went on a super hike. Byrd Park to Texas Beach Trail, to North Bank Trail to Brown Island to the Pipeline. Then the Slave Trail and Floodwall and Buttermilk to get home. Saw lots of Mayapple and Spicebush. Thanks for maintaining this park!”

“It’s a beautiful day for a hike and some salamander research in the woods. Glad we stumbled upon this, it made our day! Stay sane and healthy everyone!”

“What a great find! It’s a beautiful day for a beautiful hike!”

“Dear RVA, Thank you for the many trails and adventures…especially during this crazy time of quarantine with COVID-19. Stay healthy, active, and safe RVA!” 

“Dear Richmond, it’s 81 degrees + spring + the world is ending, so why not go on a nature hike? COVID-19 is taking over but that won’t keep us down.”

“If you are standing close to the water on the beach, you will be hit by a wave. You can let the wave knock you down or you can surf it. Either way you will get wet.”

“Dear Richmond, my mom and I discovered that we love hiking together and exploring the beautiful trails here. So grateful for the peace and serenity nature offers. XOXO.”

“Dear RVA, thank you for offering such beauty during this time of isolation. I do believe you will help us all remember what is truly important in life.”

“Running on these trails have kept my soul and heart strong. I pray for the safety of our frontline workers and communities. Stay smart, stay strong Richmond”

“Such a special place – it’s here that I nourish my soul. Enjoying the mayapples, bird song, and river sounds.”

“The trail is empty today which was special enough. Thank you for this!”

“The trail is where I can breathe. So grateful the James River Park System is still open and outside my door. Just heard and saw a large beautiful Woodpecker! Thanks to whoever left the community hand sanitizer in the mailbox! Smart! Stay safe and distanced, RVA.”

“We left Chesapeake in the midst of quarantine in search of some good outdoor rock climbing. Richmond did not disappoint. Looking to come back and check in again soon.”

“Dear RVA, with all of this COVID-19 stuff going around, choking people to death, everyone wearing masks, gloves, etc. to protect themselves, it’s comforting to have our little slice of nature in the middle of the city. To be able to walk to a secret place in nature like this really does a lot for the mind. Thank you for keeping the trails nice, and providing us with this opportunity to unload. It’s funny how something so earthy like animal sounds could provide fear for some, but inspiration for others. It’s ok to be afraid, there’s no good or bad, just an action and a reaction. So if you’re afraid of going forth and change in your life, just know it’s natural for you to feel that way. It’s no less good/bad than the trees around us or the dirt underneath because it’s all nature. Have a great rest of your life!”

“Up is difficult down is dangerous.”

“Ella, age two, loves to walk on the trail with “snuggle bear.” She calls this “the jungle.” Loves looking at birds and squirrels. And waving to other people. She also loves hearing the “monkeys” (actually bird chirps, but she calls them monkey noises!)”

“I have just come across this journal passing it multiple times. This is the most beautiful trail in Richmond. Reminds us of the trail we hiked in Tennessee with less cops. God bless.”

“To the people of Richmond, as to the mayor, be vigilant.” 

“Hiking after the rain. Random rock climbing and fun outside.”

“Life comes at you like a tornado. When you’re left standing in the rubble, you have to decide. You can pretend the wreckage is still the mansion or you can slowly rebuild. We are rebuilding!”

“Chilly day, but I made it back to this beautiful spot.”

“The day/time no longer matters. It’s beautiful outside 62 degrees and sunny. As I walk I listen to the audiobook ‘Path to God’ By Ram Dass. In the chapter that currently plays in my ears, as I write he explains reincarnation – we are immortal. Take care of your soul, take care of your planet.”

“Back at it again, but this time with ropes! So far our favorite outdoor climbing spot. Be back soon!”

“Glad to be here! So thankful these trails are in our backyard. Take care everyone and love one another!”

“This is amazing! I’m loving a great day! It’s absolutely gorgeous out, the river is high so you can hear it. The spring on the cliffs right here is dripping enough to babble.”

“Leaning into love is always an option. Normal will be rebuilt. Is what we knew before worth bringing forward? Choose with love.”

CategoriesGeneral, Live, Storytellers

Publisher and Editor in Chief of Richmond Grid magazine, a conscious lifestyle publication designed to celebrate how the region works, lives and plays. Richmond Grid magazine is a B-Certified business that uses a community-based, solution-oriented approach to shift the region for good.