"It was good to put my feet back in the sand - I needed to get back there," says Troy Purple.
The Far South Coast resident is renowned for his "sand scribes" with a large following on Instagram.
However, given the events of the past two months, he has not had as much time to partake in what he calls his own form of therapy.
Every morning he inscribes messages of hope, resilience - and special messages by request - in the pristine sands of Moon Bay and Nelson's Beach on the Far South Coast.
This week, for his first day back after bushfires licked at his home in Brogo, there was one key message on his mind.
"Everyone's done their bit with signs on the sides of the road and posters on their fence - this is my way of saying thank you," Troy said.
"There's a hell of a lot of meaning behind it."
Troy was living in Tathra when fires tore through the seaside town in March 2018. Twelve months prior to that he was living in Airlie Beach when Cyclone Debbie struck in 2017, wiping out much of what he owned.
Although further from his beloved beaches, an opportunity to move to Brogo came up in the aftermath of the Tathra bushfires.
"I fell in love with all the animals, I came out here to relax," he said with a wry chuckle.
The flames followed though, with the New Year's bushfire roaring towards his sanctuary with its multiple cows, horses, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, cats, guinea pigs...the list goes on.
Troy said flames burnt right up to his front and back doors, but incredibly, the house, stables and all the animals survived the New Year's firestorm.
He had remained behind to fight the fire alone, before "Dave" from the Brogo Rural Fire Service brigade "arrived all of a sudden" to tell him to get out.
"I told him I can't leave my animals. He stayed and helped me for a bit but then he said we just had to go. All I could do was open up the gates for the animals and horses. The dogs actually stayed under the house."
Troy used his sand writing skills to say thanks to all RFS volunteers, "but particularly Dave who helped me".
It was an emotional return to his art/therapy.
"Generally most morning I'm in tears anyway, writing people's names and special messages," Troy said.
"It's a place where I can be alone with my thoughts and leave my emotions on the sand.
"This was the first sand scribe I did in 43 days and it the first thing I had in my head to write.
"I thought I don't even know if I can do this, drawing the flames, but the first attempt was just what I'd pictured.
"Even the clouds looked like flames as the sun rose - it was meant to be."
- See more of Troy's sand writings on Instagram @simplesandscribes