Depending upon who is telling the story, Ponce de Leon discovered Florida in 1513. He landed near an inlet, south of Daytona Beach, that would later bear his name and began what would be one of the longest Indian wars in the history of the nation.
Down the street so to speak and some time later, I was born in a hospital that faced an inlet called the Miami River. On a spit of land where the stream meets the ocean, an ancient Indian village has been newly discovered; the placement of its structures earning it the name of “Miami Circle.” I can hear their footsteps in the sand.
Somewhere along the way–past the everpresent roar of the Miami International Airport, yet another subdivision, highway expansion and the architectural dollhouses that dress Miami Beach’s Art Deco District, I came to know the land that the Indians once knew; places where time is still told in seasons, sunrises and the songs of birds so small they fit in the palm of your hand; not accident reports, crime data and sensation-driven news reporting.
With my camera, I set out to discover Florida’s lost and forgotten wild places; some deep in the Everglades, others in a backyard tree. Despite our ambition and worse, the ‘other’ Florida thankfully still lives. It is where I live.