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.
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.
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.
Denny 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.
I 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.
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.
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 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.
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:
- Whirlwind Indeed: Ready the Mailbags (6/16/2018)
- Day One: Sunday, May 20th, Billings, MT (6/17/2018)
- Day Two: Monday, May 21st, Coeur d’Alene, ID (6/18/2018)
- Day Three: Tuesday, May 22nd, Trail (Crater Lake), OR (6/19/2018)
- Day Four: Wednesday, May 23rd, Crater Lake continued… (6/20/2018)
- Day Five: Thursday, May 24th, Crater Lake marches on… (6/21/2018)
- Day Six: Friday, May 25th, Bandon (The People’s Coast), OR (6/22/2018)
- Day Seven: Saturday, May 26th, Bandon and Beyond (6/23/2018)
- Day Eight: Sunday, May 27th, the Coast continues on… (6/24/2018)
- Day Nine: Monday, May 28th, Memorial Day on the Ocean (6/25/2018)
- Day Ten: Tuesday, May 29th, Humboldt Redwoods, CA (6/26/2018)
- Day Eleven: Wednesday, May 30th, Yosemite Pines RV Resort (6/27/2018)
- Day Twelve: Thursday, May 31st, Yosemite (6/28/2018)
- Day Thirteen: Friday, June 1st, Another Day in Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy Beckons (6/29/2018)
- Day Fourteen: Saturday, June 2nd, Finishing Up at Yosemite (6/30/2018)
- Day Fifteen: Sunday, June 3rd, Sequoia RV Ranch, Three Rivers, CA (7/1/2018)
- Day Sixteen: Monday, June 4th, Sequoia-Kings Canyon (7/2/2018)
- Day Seventeen: Tuesday, June 5th, Sequoia’s Last Stand (7/3/2018)
- Day Eighteen: Wednesday, June 6th, Through the Desert to Hurricane, UT (7/4/2018)
- Day Nineteen: Thursday, June 7th, Zion National Park, and more… (7/5/2018)
- Day Twenty: Friday, June 8th, Bryce Canyon and the long road to Boulder… (7/6/2018)
- Day Twenty-One: Saturday, June 9th, Chateau de Boj, Boulder, CO (7/7/2018)
- Day Twenty-Two: Sunday, June 10th, More Boulder Respite… (7/8/2018)
- Day Twenty-Three: Monday, June 11th, Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jog (7/9/2018)
- Day Twenty-Four: Tuesday, June 12th, Greetings (7/10/2018)
- About that thing… (2/8/2019)