Day Nine: Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day on the Ocean

Circles in the Sand

So there’s this guy.

He draws in the sand.

He used to do it just for himself, early in the morning. Giant labyrinths in the sand.

Until folks started printing newspaper articles about alien landings and crop circles.

Denny Dyke is now the man behind Circles in the Sand, his home-grown mission to bring people a few minutes of undisturbed meditation on the beach while walking his intricate webs of textured sand. He and a band of volunteers now create their art on a schedule, so folks can come watch. And help. And walk the labyrinth.

Labyrinth disappearing into the sun

They’re out there every few days during the tourist season, creating an extra layer of beauty over the low-tide beach at Cathedral Rock, only to watch it be washed away as the surf rolls in. He still does it before the sun comes up over the cliffs, because it looks a lot cooler in the relief of twilight shadows. And because the wind hasn’t yet began howling. Also, I expect the guy can’t stay in bed past 4am anyway.

We knew we wanted to come out to Circles in the Sand as soon as the lovely lady at the visitor center told us about it, whilst simultaneously loading us up with sixteen pounds of guides and pamphlets and more information than we could ever take advantage of in our three days here.

This one though. This looked like it’d be worth getting up early for.

By the time this morning rolled around, I will admit that I was having second thoughts about the whole dragging myself out of bed idea. My phone alarm started in with it’s familiar jingle at 5:30, and I truly wanted to chuck it out the flap of my bright orange tent. My face hurt, and frankly, I was wiped. Two and a half days of this ocean air, and I was feeling a little like I’d been hit by a salt truck.

But this was it. This was the only draw this weekend, and there would be mutiny if I let everyone sleep through it.

Cathedral Rock and the beginnings of Circles in the Sand, 6:30am

The beach walk was advertised for 7am, but we’d heard he started earlier than that, and if you wanted to help you should too. Our target arrival was 6am. We skipped down the Face Rock staircase at 6:30.

IMG_20180528_073308.jpgDenny and his army of three were hard at work, with another five or six civilians also in the fray. He’d drawn the outline (probably hours ago), and most of those helping were raising the nap of the sand with rakes to color in the areas he wanted darker. We surveyed the surroundings and jumped into the fray.

By 8ish, the last touches were finished, and Denny opened up his path for business. He gave his spiel to the gathering crowd, and encouraged us all to take just a few minutes to be fully present while walking the labyrinth. Handed out polished memory rocks, and sent the serpent of people into his creation.

To my amazement, the silence of the day deepened, rather than being broken. I think about 50 folks young and old walked through with us, and very few voices rose above a whisper, if uttered at all. And it was, as Denny already knew, serene to just breathe your way through his Circles in the Sand.

IMG_20180528_071547.jpgI talked to him afterwards. I was on my way out when he cornered me to ask what I thought. Not many words for that, but I expressed my appreciation the best I could. He smirked, and thanked me for the kind words. “I love it. I love tricking people into meditation.” And with a wink, he was off.

Meeting old friends

One of Denny’s volunteers nabbed Scott, who was wearing his Colfax Fire windbreaker, at the exit. Her husband was originally from our area. They talked ‘Sconnie while the rest of us finished the walk.

Small World.

And getting smaller. Just as we were leaving, another lady found him, for the same familiar apparel reasons. It turns out she is our new Town Clerk back home. Haven’t had a chance to meet her until now, in this place across the country, on the beaches of Oregon. What are the chances?

My wonderful (and questionably sane) friend Kris agreed to watch Rachel’s bearded dragon, Larry, while we were off visiting her and touring America for 3 weeks. Sometime after our journey through Denny’s beach walk, this text came through from the homefront:

Larry celebrating Memorial Day even though he is part Australian (insert flag emoji here)

Larry appears to be having a relaxing Memorial Day weekend poolside.

When we delivered the boy to Kris’s Dragon Spa, it was Rachel’s birthday. About an hour after we left him in the capable hands of the proprietor–despite the fact that Rachel was celebrating in Oregon–we received our first update text from the spa, this one with Larry looking exasperated in his fully-decorated aquarium. Happy Birthday signage, banners, balloons, the whole enchilada. It is my belief that the lizard is never going to want to return to his bland life at the Ottinger Estates. I’m sorry, Rachel.

We did a little more exploring after our artistic early-morning, and made our way back to Face Rock before high tide to see the labyrinth disappearing for good. It was completely gone. Nothing left but memories and the echoes of meditations.

The campground did empty out. By the time we got home around 3, we had the place mostly to ourselves. I took an afternoon sabbatical while my brood chased a few last-minute Bandon dreams down at the beach.

Our neighbors left us some firewood and the rest of their stash of driftwood turned firewood. It is burning bright. Chicken is slow-cooking on the grill, and baked potatoes are finishing up their time in the fiery furnace below. My burnt lips can almost taste it. And one more sunset awaits us before we head south to CA and the Redwoods.

Circles in the Sand

I’m having a hard time getting excited for the Next Big Thing, because this Big Thing is feeling pretty darned comfortable. But as always, I’ll acclimate. It’ll just take a while to get the coast off my skin (not to mention my heart).


The Whole Enchilada:

5 thoughts on “Day Nine: Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day on the Ocean

Add yours

  1. This was so interesting about the man who draws in the sand. How did you hear about him in the first place? What an incredible experience that must have been for all of you! I am beginning to see why you had such a great time even though it sounds like a lot of work to me!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Paula!

    He publishes a paper schedule, and the visitor’s center in Bandon is more than happy to recommend it. The lady that attacked–I mean helped–us couldn’t say enough about him. Surprisingly there weren’t that many people out there. Their loss; It was very cool indeed!

    Work? Nah. Just lots and lots of fun, interspersed with regular splashes of disaster. The spice of life!

    See you soon,


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