The “Florida Dream” lives on!
We could not have been more surprised, nor delighted, to unearth an ancient coral reef in our very own backyard in Miami. Having removed the 1930’s vintage concrete driveway and surrounding backyard pavement, with the intention of creating a hardwood “hammock” (the name for Miami’s jungle-like forest, derived from an ancient Native American word for “dry land.”), we started to get a little excited upon seeing the first peaks of the formation rising up from beneath the nasty, rubble-filled earth closer to surface.
Something was down there, but we could not really have any idea, what! Nor could we have had any idea what a journey of discovery awaited!
How wonderful a thing, we felt (as we do still) to encounter such a marvel not only on the property, but situated exactly where it might have been placed for maximum effect, garden-wise. There it sits, this reminder of the ancient origins of all life on this planet in the sea, and an unlikely remnant of the great primal wilderness that for millenia uncounted kept the Earth and sea here wrapped tight in its ancient embrace, a place so rich with all kinds of life, that we can no longer even begin to imagine what it might have really been like.
The waters in which it first took shape are long gone, having taken a different course and left it stranded and dry. But it is still here, and proud. (The more years any of us have gathered under our belts, it seems to me,the greater our appreciation of those most basic qualities.)
The “Lost Reef,” I believe, is of the same altitude, and part of the same ancient formation shown here around the turn of the century, at the place known by Miami’s earliest settlers as the Miami River Rapids. It was just here, a site that would today be located very near NW 27th Avenue, that the great Glades reached their Eastern edge, draining into a pristine Miami River that then flowed four miles out into Biscayne Bay. Hard to imagine, is it not, that only a century ago the Everglades lay only a couple of miles from where the Cottage now sits? Yet it is true, and here we have proof!