Amid the Urban Jungle, a Real Jungle:
Miami, I thought I knew you. I went from place to place and thought, “This is the real Miami, given to us by nature.” I went to the beaches and thought I had arrived at a natural wonder, but then I learned that the sand on those beaches had been coughed up by machines, and I learned that most of Miami Beach, before its development, had been a fertile mangrove swamp.
I left the beach and saw Star Island, Palm Island, Hibiscus Island, and the many smaller and undeveloped islands scattered throughout northern Biscayne Bay, and then I learned that these were not natural either, because they were created by the deposits of dredging projects. The same goes for the shoreline of Bayfront Park -- this land used to be underwater.
I looked to the Miami River, surely a natural waterway, and then I learned that this river once had rapids. There was a waterfall in Miami, and it was dynamited for the sake of development. Everywhere I looked, Miami’s natural beauty had been exploited and altered to allow us, its modern inhabitants, to live here.