Of the massive trees Hurricane Irma toppled in Florida, none carry the symbolic weight of the one that fell outside the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
The "Wish Tree" was found on its side after the storm passed through the Tampa-St. Petersburg area late Sunday night and early Monday morning. The iconic ficus is in the "Avant-garden" of the museum, located on the Tampa Bay waterfront and dedicated to the work of the surrealist artist.
Borrowing from "ancient Scottish rites," it is museum tradition to write a wish on your wristband and tie it to the tree.
It's hard for one to ignore the symbolism of a tree carrying peoples' hopes and dreams being blown over by Mother Nature, but the museum remains optimistic.
"We are working to get it replanted and restore everyone's wishes!" said the museum's Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Greif in a Tuesday email.
The tree remains in good health, she said. The rest of the museum's garden sustained minor damage and a few cypress trees fell during Irma. The metal mustache sculpture survived.
If you're worried your wish may have been lost to Irma, there's good news. Each week, the museum removes the wishes and records them. As part of preparing for the storm, the museum took all of last week's wishes and secured them so they could be added to the record.
The tree "keeps on living" despite its three previous falls during storms, Grief said.
"I think, personally, the Wish Tree certainly can serve as a symbol of how strong our community is," she said.
Follow Sean Rossman on Twitter: @SeanRossman
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