Mitch 2013



Wander the beaches rimming the island of Martha’s Vineyard and you’re sure to spot spontaneous, surf-side art. In past years we’ve admired rocks walls, a fire pit encircled in clam shells, and a driftwood bunker set in the dunes. Always unmanned by their creators.



Brynn patching the rock wall of 2011


This year it was all about Mitch 2013.

Martin and I were walking along the beach — the kids and family were a squint-worthy distance behind us — when Martin noticed it.

It was away from the water, hugging the sandy bluff: a sturdy chair framed with lumber, enhanced with driftwood and oddities that had washed ashore.

The chair builder had decorated the seat with all sorts of debris — trash, such as plastic grocery bags and water bottles, and natural sea debris —  shells and lobster claws. Fishing rope bound the frame and was wattled overhead for shade.


The throne


Martin and I admired the chair and tested it out (slightly reclined, very comfortable). Only when I sat down, did I notice the builder’s signature among stones and shells:




It was so cool… we wanted to share it. So the next afternoon, we took the kids and Mike to see Mitch’s creation. As the kids hopped around, I sat down on the throne and scanned the chair for details missed during our first visit.

“Look at this arrow,” I said, pointing to a notch carved into the right armrest. “What do you think this arrow means? Maybe ‘This way, north’? Or is it pointing to a constellation? Maybe it’s saying, ‘this way to the closest liquor store,'” I added, extracting an unlabeled liquor bottle plugged purposefully into a post.




Mike shrugged, Martin stayed silent and we quietly sipped our drinks.

Five or 10 minutes passed before Hadley screamed, startling us from our solitary thoughts. She leapt from her location beside the chair, where she had been sifting through the sand.

Eww!” she yelled. “I just found poop!” She stood frozen, her fingers splayed.

I sized up the kid, then followed her horrified stare. A quick glance confirmed her discovery.

Yes, she’d unearthed poop.

“Quick! Run down to the ocean and scrub your hands,” I said as Hadley streaked toward the waves. “And then grab a handful of sand and scrub again!” I yelled at her fleeing form.

I surveyed the scene and caught Mike’s eye. We stared at one another.

He was the first to say it.

“Well… I guess we figured out what the arrow was pointing at…”

Mitch, you kidder….