How many of us growing up in the Miami,South Miami,or even the Gables of the 50`s or 60`s before we drove remember biking to Matheson Hammock Park because that and Tahiti were within biking range of where we lived and we knew we were free to be who we were.Kids being kids,or for the slightly older a place to be with that special someone,and listen to our portable radios or perhaps someone had driven there and there radio was playing that special song for you and the person you thought you would be with for life and now have trouble remembering their name.Maybe the name is hazy but Matheson Hammock is still the pristine oasis that it was then,the place of our young and teenaged years that we still cling to with the tenacity of hope we refuse to let go of like we do our friends on Facebook who bear little to the photos in our minds of that special someone.It is the smell ,that briny smell of the water,and seeing the crabs scurrying away,If you were fortunate enough to have a canoe,(before kayaks) you could get close to the mangroves and see a little bit of everything.Every kind of waterfowl, sea life, and if you were really lucky maybe a porpoise. As an adult I went back and was amazed at how much smaller it was and how changed,yet something still pulled me to a certain tree,how I found it I will never know and there albeit faintly their it was a faint intertwined heart with two sets of forever loves.One is now long gone,the other girl no one knows where and her “forever” love I am still friends with today on Facebook.He is still the same,staunch friend,guard of whomever might try to hurt me and even though he lives across the country I could call him and still be able to cry on his wide shoulders even if it was a problem I still may angst over 50 some odd years later or the rather difficult time I am having now at the end of my journey. All because of a video that was sent to me via another old classmate that realizes that with the destruction of Matheson Hmmock Park is would be not just formalizing the power of the 1% and their being able to do with their money what we can do with but words.No matter! We will always have those memories of summers and of freedom,and of first or young love,or just friendships forever being bound by a gentle lap of waves on a lazy lagoon,the smell of smells that always takes us back to another time,another place,and the songs that we continue to play to take us back to those lazy,hazy,crazy,days of summer,and memories that no matter what happens cannot be erased.
However,for the sake of those who come after us and while those days may never come again let this place be a safe haven for grandparents to show that they too had a youth,they too had dreams,and they too indeed care to see not a memory saved but a small part of the ecosystem of Florida that is quickly disappearing. Why is progress assumed when something valuable is destroyed? Memories last forever in our minds,places do not.