I will never forget today:
The day I WALKED to the Kindred Spirit mailbox on Bird Island Reserve.
|Looking Back From the Mailbox to Where We Walked From|
In years past, we have used the Rolls to get to the Kindred Spirit mailbox, but this year we have no Rolls. This is in part because it is broken, in part because insurance will not replace it, in part because it is increasingly difficult for Mom to push me and in part because I need it only for longer outings.
|Distance from Mailbox to Ocean|
The only way to the mailbox is to walk about 1.25 miles each way, not including the walk over from the street to the beach.
|Dunes Behind Mailbox|
Bird Island, which is part of Sunset Beach, is completely uninhabited, with no roads or development.
|Mailbox and Bench Nestled in Dunes|
Our yearly pilgrimage to the Kindred Spirit mailbox is one of my favorite parts of our time here. It's a spiritual place, where people stop to write in notebooks that are placed in the box.
People from the island tend to the box, keeping it stocked with pens and notebooks. An author has used the stories to write some of her books.
|New Kindred Spirit Mailbox|
Since our previous three years here, the box has been moved, as has the one bench. The other bench has been removed and so has the flag that flew directing people to the box.
But, it's still the same special place.
Each year, I spend some time reflecting on our time her at Sunset Beach and the blessing that it is.
Being at Kindred Spirit mailbox changes me each year.
Today, when we arrived at the beach, I decided that the weather signaled that it was the perfect day to try to make the journey to the mailbox.
It was warm, sunny, not too hot and not too windy.
|Deep In Thought, With Help from T and G|
Let's remind ourselves how far I walk in a day: I typically walk one mile or a little more for exercise as many days a week as possible.
Otherwise, I walk around the house or on an errand and usually make it to between 4000 and 6000 steps.
TODAY, I blew that number out of the water.
According to my phone, I walked 3.3 miles from the time we left the car until we made it back to the car.
My Fitbit and my iPhone couldn't come to an agreement on number of steps. Even though my Fitbit was on ALL day, it still thought I had walked fewer steps than my iPhone, which I only wore during our time on the beach.
Regardless, even for my Fitbit it was the most active day I've ever had and when I synced it, little animated fireworks decorated the screen.
|A Kiss from G|
You may remember that it was just last year at the beach that I began 'training' to walk a mile.
That was my goal.
Because the climate is so temperate here and it is so flat, I just gradually worked on my stamina.
By May of last year, I was able to walk a mile.
Since then, I've mostly worked on walking more frequently, squeezing more steps into the day, standing longer by doing things like shopping or errands, and varying the speed or difficulty of my walk.
|Shells and Such around the Mailbox Pole|
I've not come anywhere close to walking this far in a day, other than a couple of times last Fall when we were in Maine.
We rested for a while at the box, as well as before and after our trips over the walkway to and from the car.
It took us about 35 minutes each way to walk to the box.
|Just Taking a Little Break|
While I wrote, Mom and the kids hung out watching the waves.
Tovah Rose curled up in the dunes and almost fell asleep!
I don't know how I'll feel tomorrow, whether I'll be able to even get out of bed.
But I was determined to get to this mailbox this year. On my own two feet.
|New White Box|
I'm trying so hard just to savor this victory for what it is.
Trying not to feel anxious about how I might feel tomorrow or what the post-exertional malaise might be like.
|Lots of Sandpipers to Watch On Our Way Home|
For some time now, I've been floating the idea in my head that I would like to be strong enough to walk a 5K.
After today, that's feeling like an achievable goal down the road.
Being able to walk along the beach is so therapeutic.
I love walking with my shoes off (even if I do have hose on), getting my feet wet, playing with G in the water, looking for sand dollars (of which I found one of the most precious quarter-sized ones today), watching the birds, and getting to see the sunlight change throughout the afternoon as the tide comes in and out.
Today was a victory. A big one.
Today was joyful.
Today was spiritual.
Today showed me I'm stronger and braver than I sometimes believe.
Right now, I'm resting in the gratitude I feel for this day.
|A Look Down the Beach After We Got Back From the Box|
I love it here at Sunset Beach. I love being with Mom and the fur kids. And I love that I'm in this beautiful place healing...a little bit each day.
Thank you, Kindred Spirit mailbox, for being such a special part of this island.