Dateline: "’A View of Miami, Fla.,’ and What a View It Was!" 1900. "Paul’s Safari Into Miami’s History"



HERE is a view of a great old oak tree having made itself completely at home in the crystalline waters of the flowing Miami, at a spot well known to the pioneers, and quite likely as well the ancient ones who had long preceded them, leaving behind but little footprint.

When you climbed this tree, which was easy, a splendid view of the beginnings of the Everglades was laid out before you, by all reports nearly unimaginable: clear flowing water, small green hammock islands dotting the vast area like ships set sail in ancient days making steady headway against the waters’ eternal flow, and a sky that somehow seemed bigger than anyone could recall seeing elsewhere, itself alive with the motion and song of birds on the wing, in shapes and hues no longer known to the world, and the whole of it at all times of day suffused with rich color.

Best of all, it is said, the ones who went there were sometimes unable to discern with any specificity whatsoever exactly where the shimmering water might yield to the green hues receding into the distance, suggesting land, or the exact point at which either touched the overarching skies of luminous golden or silver leaf.

Something about the mystery lifted their spirits unaccountably, and those who had experienced its touch quite often returned, with others whose wells of hope had run very near dry, or who had seen the colors of their worlds grow dim as deepest grief become their only steady and miserably reliable companion.

On occasion delicious picnics were prepared for enjoyment in this area along the river, but it was observed of many who returned from the simple outing somehow different, and changed, that they must have supped upon and drank of something deeper, and more sublime. No one could have possibly been more surprised than they to realize that yes, even they might still have a place in the world, their unspeakable losses and broken hearts notwithstanding. 

And a curious thing: once it had dawned on them that they indeed belonged here, that peculiar loneliness they had for so long believed theirs alone simply faded away with a strange and quiet grace, as might a star that has served long and faithful vigil through the dark of night, when comes the sunrise. 

Thank you.

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