ST. PETERSBURG — Hurricane Irma felled countless trees as it tore through the Tampa Bay area, but only one carried the weight of thousands of wishes.
Irma's powerful winds apparently toppled the Florida ficus behind the Salvador Dali Museum known as the Wish Tree. Museum visitors were encouraged to write down a dream on their admission arm bands and tie them to the tree, creating a rainbow of desire.
The tree was at a roughly a 45 degree angle on Monday, its massive root ball jutting into the air. Unlike many trees split by Irma, though, the wishing tree appeared intact.
Its fate remained unclear. A museum official could not be reached for comment.
But its history offered some reason for hope. The tree was a transplant, rescued after being uprooted in a 2010 storm in South Florida. It has been blown down and been righted at least twice since then. Workers eventually shored it up with cables.
Whatever the tree's fate, wishers should be optimistic, said St. Petersburg resident Nathalie Desbaillets, who placed her own wish on the tree shortly after the museum opened.
"I believe wishes live past the symbol you place them upon," Desbaillets said after a reporter pointed out to her that it had fallen. "A wish lives inside us."