Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beach Tree

Several readers chastised me for not taking photos of the outdoor art exhibit several months ago. There is now a spontaneous art show located on the beach, just north of the lifeguard beach. Sometime around Christmas a dead tree washed up on the beach. It is now standing upright. I guess someone "planted" it. For weeks I've noticed that it is becoming more decorated with each passing day.

The last time I checked it was festooned with seashells, seaweed, pine cones, plastic cards, mirrors, Christmas ornaments, a flip flop, one glove, red & green fabric, and pieces of driftwood. There's no telling how long it will last. Eventually, of course, it will succumb to the bureaucracy of the National Park Service (to their credit they've let it stand so far), or the incoming tide. But in the meanwhile it's become a curiosity and a way to celebrate our quirky creativity.

(Click on photo to view a larger image.)

If you're walking by the beach tree, stop and add something fun!

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter discusses place names on Ocracoke. You can read it here:


  1. Debbie Leonard8:50 AM

    This is going to sound a little negative. The tree is great but it bothers me that there are things other than natural materials on it. I fear that the manmade materials may end up back in the water which is not where they belong.

  2. Philip? . . . Chastised? . . . No, I can't believe it.

  3. Anonymous7:14 PM

    Oh, how I long to visit Ocracoke again!

  4. Anonymous7:00 AM

    I think it is a perfect blend of the natural world and the world we have made for ourselves. It really is a great photo and definitely leads one to appreciating all we have and all we are even with a twinge for a perfect world.

  5. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Looks like a perfect specimen of Ocracoke creativity...

  6. It's great this is happening & that you've posted it. Have fun with the tree, it's spontaneous, free art! But please clean up the plastic, trash parts at some point! Here's a related Youtube: "World's Biggest Garbage Dump - Plastic In the Ocean"
    I love Ocracoke!

  7. Anonymous7:35 AM

    When I walked along the sugar sand beaches of the Florida panhandle I collected an empty fifty pound mesh onion bag and as I walked I picked up trash to fill it up. I could not in good conscience walk past and leave a soda bottle towel Styrofoam fast food tray and other assorted items on the ground. It was disheartening to see so much washed up on shore we saw many dead birds too . were they shot by fisherman?did the die an untimely death ingesting trash to choke to death ? I don't know but it amazes me how folks can visit a place and say how lovely and not help the "bureacracy of the national park Service" There is an interesting book out now about the formation of the Forest Service and the man in charge at the onset and how the Park service and the Forest service almost have diametrically opposed positions and the thought that a bureaucracy is a bad thing -- it is the nature of a bureaucracy to be well not --Oh lets do what ever-- there are rules and hearings and well some people sue and some people do things like beach art and well if the local populace wants to create an eyesore --Which is what is is AN EYE SORE (on property that belongs to everyone in the nation, not just the fortunate few that have a piece of expensive real estate in there back yard on my dime and the guy who lives next door to me or miles away from me--- but an eye sore oh some would think how creative ---the slobs that throw things on the ground have given the free willy nillers something to play with isn't that nice. Take a picture of it and send it to Obama and ask him what he thinks of it.

  8. I'll keep you all posted about the fate of the beach tree. Just so you know, most of the decorations are natural (shells, seaweed, pine cones, etc.), a few are man-made items that had washed up on the beach (a rubber glove, a flip flop -- this is inevitable...sunbathers sometimes forget items, things wash overboard from passing boats, etc -- and I know these things could have been picked up and carried to a trash receptacle [I and many others do pick up the stray piece of trash as we walk the beach], and another few apparently came from people's pockets (a tiny mirror, a Christmas tree ornament, etc.).

    My guess is that everything will eventually be picked up and put in trash cans. In the meanwhile many people think the tree is a fun expression of island creativity.

    My personal pledge is that if the tree gets washed down and the decorations get scattered I will pick up whatever I can find...and a volume of trash equal to twice what is on the tree. In fact, I'll make a point today of taking a plastic bag with me and I will walk along the dune line to pick up anything that doesn't belong on the beach.

  9. Anonymous6:35 AM

    A tree you say how unusual, a tree but if one thinks-- there have been traumatic events of late, perhaps the driftwood tree is from the Tsunami from a few years back clear across the globe. Now this Beach tree drift wood marine debris could be a sign of the tides. It could have been adrift due to a hurricane and the tidal surge that washes over an island community. If a High school student saw this as an opportunity to do a DNA test on the tree, if possible, to determine the genus; perhaps this student could add to the body of knowledge about wave currents.