writing

When You Lose Your Symbol of Resilience

I cried in my coffee this morning.

The news coming out of Hurricane Irma’s wake is devastating no matter where you turn. (Though for goodness sakes don’t turn on the Weather Channel unless you’re studying how to write dramatic headlines.)

I know it can be hopeful too–all the neighbors caring for one another with hot coffee and showers and extra phone chargers. My Facebook feed is actually more pleasant after a disaster, come to think of it. When we’re all striving to help, there’s little room for actual strife.

But then… this.

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Photographers and Edistonians and beauty relishers–we call it the Sentinel. She’s stood for a long, long time in the shores of Botany Bay.

A relic.

A ghost.

A beacon.

A symbol.

And Hurricane Irma was her last stand.

Like Charleston Photography said, maybe this seems irrelevant, in the face of all the other loss, to grieve this simple tree. But this tree was a reminder that all things change–but we can withstand the wind and the surge and still offer hope.

Even down in the waves, this tree lives on. In the breathtaking photography of those talented like my cousin Jocie who took my images. In the memories of those who’ve found themselves at Botany Bay. In the lives of those who continue to love a place and find it worthy, no matter how battered it might be by a storm.

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Excerpt from Still Waters

Her heart skipped as she took it all in. Grace was right. This was another world. No play place beach but a relict of history. Trees stripped bare and washed white shone like bones against the slate gray skies. Sometime during the last century, the ocean had crept up the land, and those trees stood like sentinels in its waves. Guarding this precious place. Sea foam rimmed the shores and bubbled on the branches.

She slipped off her sandals. Hallowed ground.

Grace closed her eyes and pulled in a breath of the sea. Cora Anne imitated her. The air was tinged with salt and brine and something richer.

“They call this place Boneyard Beach.”

“I can see why.”

Grace walked the sand with reverence and stood in the water’s edge. Thick bubbles of foam washed over her feet and clung to her calves. “This is where I found my peace.”

Cora Anne waded in beside her and hugged herself against the breeze that was becoming a wind.
“If God can keep all this here, despite man’s attempts to bend nature to himself, I figured, well, then, He must know what He’s doing keeping me without Patrick.”

The water lapped over their feet and ankles, but she didn’t move, even when the salt spray splashed up her thighs and dampened her shorts. Grace stood silently beside her. Despite the wind, the sun struggled through the low hanging clouds and lit the bare bones of those trees.

The eeriness dissipated with the fiery glow.

Copyright 2017, Lindsey P. Brackett

 

 

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