It’s the small things that count, or in this case one BIG thing. The beloved tamarind tree on Spring Bay.
We don’t know how old this tree really is, but Tina has pictures of her grandparents under this tree back in the 20’s or so, and even THEN it was huge. So at least 100 years old. This tree has shaded hundreds of guests, been the back drop to many photos, hosted many birthdays, and even a couple of Canada day parties to name a few.
When Irma ripped through Virgin Gorda she tried to take this precious tree with her. It was a day or two after the storm (sorry everything’s still a blur at times) when we decided to venture through the fallen debris and head to the beach. We just needed a swim, because that heals everything right! We knew it would be a sad sight, but we weren’t prepared to see the tree on its side. We just stared at it in awe. It was then we really realized just how strong Irma was. It was also then that we were determined to get the tree standing again.
It took some time to clear the road to the beach since it was full of fallen bushes, pieces of roofs and other debris. The groundsmen chopped and chainsawed all the large stuff, and the ladies piled it all up onto the side. Even two guests who rode Irma out at Guavaberry chipped in clearing the way! Finally, three weeks after Irma we were able to get a backhoe down to the beach and start the resurrection.
Let it be noted, that apart from clearing bush for the three weeks after the storm, the tree was the FIRST “fix” we made. Houses can be rebuilt over time, we can assess damages as we need to, but helping to heal mother nature took first priority. We had to get those roots back in, and fast. Some might think that sounds silly, but it was important to us and many others. It also gave us our first feeling of accomplishment. One small step, but a step forward none the less!
The process to get the tree back up was quite the feat. It took a backhoe to lift the tree while the other guys were scurrying around securing straps between the branches and surrounding rocks, climbing up the tree to nail in salvaged boards as supports and Tina supervising the whole ordeal. It took an hour or so but in the end it was a success. Sure, it might not be particularly straight, and some roots might need attention later, but for now… She’s up!
Over the next few weeks we waited, visited, watered, and even talked to the tree. We are happy to see that the effort has payed off and new leaves have sprouted and shade is coming back.
We like to think of the tree as a symbol of strength. A little teamwork, determination and willpower and we too will “sprout new leaves” in the coming months.