Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Untitled 57

The tide was low again at Boundary Bay, and the sands stretched far ahead. As we hurried out, to get to the eelgrass beds before the tide turned, we passed a man carrying a couple of long, twisted branches across the bare sand. Something to do while the kids splashed in the pools, I guessed.

An hour later, on our way back, we could see some sort of structure ahead near the shore. I laughed, thinking about our human propensity to build, wherever we are, with or without a practical purpose or even a hope of durability. Small children on the beach make sand castles; a bit older, and they're building driftwood shelters and even small shacks. Adults usually just set out chairs and umbrellas; sometimes they mark off their "territory" on the sand with sketchy driftwood corner posts or erect a leafy shelter from the sun.

Sometimes they're more ambitious.

Driftwood and crab design, artist anonymous

The driftwood collector was nearby, with a group, children and adults, parents and (probably) grandparents. "I love your creation!" I said to him, as we passed.

A white-haired man with him turned, laughing. "It's called, 'Untitled 57'," he said. "And it's for sale; offer a few thousand, and we'll talk."

"Untitled 57", detail

Unfortunately, we weren't carrying cash. Nor were any of the other beachgoers we talked to at the boat ramp. The deal of a lifetime, available only until the tide came in and carried it away, missed!


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