The Writing Traveler: Of Sand, Sea, and The Arts by Tom Adkinson

Photograph: Tom Adkinson


The artist sits beside his sand sculpture. The surf rolls ashore. A wandering tourist passes by. And here is their conversation.

The setting: Along the century-old promenade in Seaside, Oregon, a coastal resort town 80 miles northwest of Portland. A weathered, taciturn sand sculptor of indeterminate age sits on a beach chair next to a sculpture of a wounded soldier and a medic. A short conversation ensues with a passerby on the other side of the promenade railing.

Tom Adkinson

Passerby: That’s nice work.

Sculptor: Thanks.

Passerby: How much time do you have invested in it?

Sculptor: Much of yesterday. Some of today.

Passerby: Are you from here?

Sculptor: Nope. I’m from lots of places.

Passerby: I’m from Tennessee.

Sculptor: I was a military brat.

Passerby: May I take your picture?

Sculptor: If you want.

Passerby, dropping a few bills into a bucket the sculptor has attached to the railing with duct tape: Gotta go. I need to catch up with my friends. Take care of yourself.

Sculptor: Thank you for supporting the arts.


Tom’s article appeared originally in The Knoxville Daily Sun.


Tom Adkinson is the author of 100 Things To Do In Nashville Before You Die. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.


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