The White Watcher – Mizell-Johnson State Park

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A typical South Florida sunset in Mizell-Johnson State Park, where the setting sun interacts beautifully with ominous storms in the distance.

This photograph’s title is admittedly a little bit silly. The “White Watcher” of the title refers to the Sabal Palm in the foreground. I was scrambling around Mizell-Johnson State Park, trying to find the right foreground to frame the dramatic sunset, when I saw this tree. For some reason, the tree instantly struck me as having a human quality to it. It’s pale fronds reminded me of someone’s hair starting to turn white at the tips and temples. In reality, this is caused by nutrient deficiency – probably magnesium or potassium. It’s a common occurrence when palm trees grow in soil that is too sandy. But nonetheless, the tree looked to me like a haggard old soul, who has watched this same sunset for years and years. In fact, due also to the sandy soil, it’s possible that this tree may be quite old indeed. While well equipped to handle poor soil, it does cause Sabal Palms to grow incredibly slowly.

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