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Why 'Dear Richmond' messages are being left in this secret mailbox in the woods

Posted at 1:29 PM, Jul 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-08 18:03:40-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- An unlikely object in the middle of the woods holds deep, personal thoughts, messages of hope, and an outlet for expression. They're all inspired by these two words -- "Dear Richmond."

If you take a hike on one of Richmond's hiking trails, you may run into a secret mailbox tucked away in the woods.

"This is a place people can find peace and solidarity and kind of be their safe place," Bryce Wilk with the James River Park System, said.

Open it up, and you'll find a journal titled "Dear Richmond." It's a project created by Richmond Grid and The James River Park System.

Those who stumble upon the mailbox and peek inside are encouraged to document their thoughts -- as Richmonders live through a pandemic and racial justice movement.

"It allows you to get a pulse of what`'s going on in this world and people have really used it as a therapeutic outlet," Wilk said.

Wilk maintains the site, while Paul Spicer with Richmond Grid keeps record of and publishes the notes.

Here are a few of them.

"Hello, Richmond! Stay beautiful! Stay strong! Explore, encourage, live life fully! Take risks, do not care what others think, go out with a bang! be kind, always."

"Life is short, so live it. Love is raw, so grab it. Fear controls you, so face it. Memories are precious, so cherish them."

"Moments like this can save peoples' lives. Thank you."

"This is their happy place and you read things saying they`re having a stressful day, but they`re able to come out here and wash that part away," Wilk, who has read many of the entries, said.

Its location will stay a secret for now, but its message will be clear for all to see.

To read all the journal entries, click here.