Tracy Lindner acknowledged the photo she submitted may not be much more than a novelty to the casual observer.
After all, it was just another beach shot, the sand, pebbles and the flotsam of the coast, from another vacation spent on Cape San Blas.
And, seven are published each week in the pages of this newspaper.
But this image, a photo her daughter, Meredith, the photographer, called “The Calm Before the Storm,” would in time assume a greater cache.
First, however, we briefly rewind.
The Lindner family, which hails from the mountains of East Tennessee, discovered Cape San Blas nine years ago.
“We live way up in the mountains … and we have beautiful rivers, lakes and waterfalls all around,” Tracy said. “We started coming to Cape San Blas in 2010 and we fell in love with the small-town feel and the beautiful beaches and how natural the area was.
“It was, to us, just like our mountains... untouched by the human kind.”
The family’s most recent trip to the Cape was last July and Meredith, a fifth-grader, arrived on something of a mission.
Meredith was prepping for the National Beta Club Convention in Nashville come fall and was entering the photography competition.
And, let’s be blunt, a photographer seeking content would be hard-pressed to find a better canvas.
“(Meredith) knew that the natural beauty of the Cape could not compare to any other,” Tracy said. “So, the whole vacation she had her camera in her hand.”
The photo accompanying this story, Tracy noted, actually was captured by Meredith on her cell phone.
It was the last shot from the Lindners Cape vacation of 2018.
“Like always we were sad to go,” Tracy said.
“We said our ‘see ya laters’ to all the beautiful landscapes, the Indian Pass Raw Bar, the most beautiful Salinas Park and every other thing that we love and cherish that the Cape and Port St. Joe and surrounding areas have to offer.”
What they could not have known as they traveled home, of course, is that the landscape would be altered in just a few months by Hurricane Michael.
The Lindners watched from the safety of their home the images of Michael’s destruction and the devastation heaped on their “second home.”
Meredith, who turned 11 in December, selected the last photo she took from the family’s Cape vacation, the beach scene captured on cell phone, to enter in the statewide Beta Club photography competition, under the title, “The Calm Before the Storm: Cape San Blas, Florida.”
“This may look like just another picture of the beach, but to my family, this is not just an ordinary beach picture,” Tracy said.
The photo earned third-place in the state and earned Meredith the opportunity to travel to and compete at the National Beta Club Convention in Oklahoma City in June.
Meanwhile, the Lindners watch from the mountains and anticipate their next opportunity to enjoy some beach time.
“We are so proud to see all the efforts made to restore all that was lost and we can’t wait to come back to the Cape for our next vacation,” Tracy said.