It was just 3 months ago that we stepped out onto the beach at Botany Bay after 8 months of it being inaccessible. Tears welled up in our eyes and it was like coming home, especially when we saw that the beloved tree of all photographers stood strong and proud in the water. He was a beacon of hope, that no matter what storms may come in life, though the shifting sand around us scatter, there was strength in the decay.
We breathed a sigh of relief when we knew Irma was diverting to the west side of Florida and Charleston would be spared from being hit head-on by a CAT 4/5 hurricane. This morning as we picked up the fallen limbs and debris from our home, our phones individually buzzed and we received a note from our friend and pilot that we work with, Hayden Ervin with Holy City Helicopters that he was going to fly over Botany Bay. We waited and within an hour video from his flight was posted on Facebook. Keith and I sat watching on repeat and pausing it making sure what we saw was correct: Our old friend who had once stood so proud is now down in the water.
For all the folks who loved that tree, it's a profound loss. Even now, until we can see it with our own eyes the reality of it being gone is dim.
Perhaps this post is only for photographers. Few people might be able to relate with the sadness over a tree. For those of us who have breathed in the salty sea air, and watched the sunrise come up behind him, we know him as an icon. We've had the privilege of hosting and guiding folks from all over the country who planned their trip to see this beloved tree.
So from our hearts, to that sweet old tree, thank you for what you meant to all of us. A symbol of strength, resilience, and faith. You'll be dearly missed.