Early morning Saturday May 17, hubby, Russell and I parked the Chevy Equinox near the 40th Street beach access on Sunset Beach, North Carolina.
With cameras and canteens draped over our shoulder, and two excited canines by our sides, we hightailed it to the shoreline for the 40 minute trek to the Kindred Spirit Bench.
The Kindred Spirit Bench, located on Bird Island, North Carolina was recently featured on CBS News. It’s an inspirational spot where people from all over leave their thoughts in the many journals, housed inside the Kindred Spirit mailbox. An anonymous originator placed the box there some 30+ years ago. My friend Jacqueline DeGroot, and friend Sandy Payne, are the Keepers – transporting the filled journals safely to their destination – U of NC.
The vista of the dunes and beach as viewed from the bench is breathtaking. It’s the maple syrup to my pancake, the hot fudge to my sundae, the chocolate in my cappuccino. It’s simply divine!
On this radiant Saturday morning, people were walking in droves — numbers I’d never seen before down the shoreline. More than I’d encountered on my last two visits to the Kindred Spirit Bench.
A sultry summer’s day, the air was hot, the sea was calm, and I was in my element. Russell walked briskly, and I kept rhythm by scuffling my sandals against the hard–packed sand. With the dogs’ tags jingling, our Bernese Aussie mix trotted in bow-legged fashion, and our mini Australian Shepherd stepped lightly like a ballet dancer.
Along the way, we met a lovely couple, Justin and Ashley, and her parents. As we walked, we talked, and learned a lot about each other. A writer, Ashley liked to collect shells for her students as a way of expressing themselves. They lived a mere three hours from Sunset Beach, and visited the Kindred Spirit Bench the same time each year.
Spotting the Kindred Spirit mailbox, we climbed the sand dune and sat on the bench. Ashley and I chatted more about writing means to both of us. Afterwards, the six of us each took a turn penning our thoughts in the journals. We snapped some photos together to capture the memory of our visit.
At the bench, we met a guy wearing a Jason Mraz hat, and some cool spectacles – Colin, and his Italian Greyhound, Dan. On our return walk, we talked about photography. Exchanging pleasantries, I discovered Colin was the cameraman for The Big Bang Theory, and Two and a Half Men. The Big Bang Theory is ONLY my husband’s favorite show.
We took a few breaks so the dogs could frolic. Dan, a mere 10 lbs., ran in circles on the firm sand while our 75 lb. Bernese Aussie mix chased him. Unable to trust our mini Aussie, she was given only 15 foot of lead to run. In her mind that wasn’t enough.
Sauntering down the beach, we neared the 45th Street Beach Access. I spotted a young man in white shirt and black sunglasses building sandcastles, and told hubby, “I’ll be back.”
Upon my approach, I stood back for awhile, and just admired the artist at work.
“Hey, that’s pretty cool,” I said in an upbeat manner.
“ That’s pretty intricate. You an architect?”
Shaking his head no he admitted he had no formal training but came from a family of castlebuilders. “I’m pretty much the only one that’s kept up the castlebuilding.”
His name was Lukas. With a ‘k’.
The sandcastle displayed his handcrafted pottery on different levels. He described himself as a visionary.
As I bid Lukas “Good Day” he neatly wrote his email address on a piece of paper, of which I took a snapshot. He didn’t carry business cards.
As I meandered back to the spot where hubby and Colin were standing, I noticed a young woman with a paddle board entering the water.
Following behind, a man with a board, and a big black dog, entered the ocean. Steadying the board, the woman hopped on, then kneeled. The man, placed the board on the water’s surface, and the black dog jumped on, balancing on all four legs. Amazing. The man jumped on, kneeling astride the dog. The three of them floated effortlessly in the shallows for sometime – a serene watercolor painting.
There’s something peaceful and magical a man and his dog bonding with the rhythm of the sea.
After the couple and dog exited the crystal clear water, I headed in their direction. Russell, Colin and the dogs followed behind. I was curious to learn about the surfboarding dog.
“What’s his name?”
Close up, Roscoe made our dogs look insignificant and tiny. He was an enormous canine, and appeared lean and muscular under the mass of wet black hair. The couple admitted Roscoe started surfboarding as a pup, and loved it. As I shook hands, and bid my goodbyes, I let them know they’d just made my day.
Nearing the 40th Street beach access, we spotted my in-laws waving at us.
And I think we made a new friend. After running into Colin all week, we just decided to exchange information.
We keep in touch through social media. I love seeing photos of Dan the Dog, who has his own twitter feed. Colin’s a talented photographer. Maybe he’ll meet us on the sandy shores of Sunset Beach next May, and make the trek to the Kindred Spirit Bench once more?
Hope you get the chance to make new friends on your journey through life.
Writers, photographers, cameramen, poets, painters, sculptors, and songwriters all creating their own dream.
And even paddleboarding dogs…