Armchair photo tours: Circles in the Sand

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Photos by Cheryl Landes

Art is everywhere and can be created anywhere. Take the beach. The sand is like one giant canvas waiting for someone to create. It could be a human drawing an image, someone writing a message, or a dog making a trail or other patterns with her paws as she runs and jumps around or chases a driftwood stick her humans toss.

In Bandon, Oregon, there’s another type of art that appears in the sand, thanks to artist Denny (“The Sandman”) Dyke and his crew of volunteers. They create labyrinths during low tide at Face Rock State Park for anyone to enjoy a walk on the sand, meditate, and reflect.

These masterpieces, known as Circles in the Sand, are only temporary. The next high tide washes them away. They’re a statement on how life constantly changes, where our joyful moments fade and leave us needing fresh experiences.

Denny says the art is a dreamfield, where he encourages people to take their worries to the center of the labyrinth, leave them there, and exit with a smile. In a setting like this beach, it would be tough to leave without a smile!

Denny started drawing the labyrinths on the beach in 2011. In the early days, some park visitors who weren’t familiar with his work thought the drawings were crop circles or alien art.

With the encouragement of his local fans and tourists who come just to walk in his creations, he started drawing the labyrinths full-time in 2015.

The first time I came to Circles in the Sand in 2017, I asked Denny if he plans the designs before his team starts drawing.

“No,” he said. The ideas come as they’re creating. They’re inspired by the beautiful surroundings.

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Denny Dyke, the labyrinth artist who began Circles in the Sand in Bandon, Oregon

The Circles in the Sand schedule depends on the tides and the weather. The team starts drawing in the hard sand two hours before the morning tide reaches its lowest point so that everyone has more time to explore and enjoy.

Each drawing session includes one large labyrinth and one or two smaller versions. Everyone is welcome to wander one or all. There’s no charge, but donations are appreciated.

Enjoy today’s stroll!

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