Personal memory by Andrea Baden

1987Davie, FL, USA

As a child, we'd leave for school particularly early, not to beat the traffic, but to beat the cows coming into the dairy from pasture. In 1987, Davie was nothing but cowboys and farmers. My backyard was the Everglades. It was not uncommon to find an airboat parked beside someone's swing set, or, for that matter, an alligator in someone's swimming pool. The local McDonald's had a hitching post. We were ru-ral. My friends and I spent our days swimming in lakes, catching turtles, riding our horses and exploring the woods nearby. It's where my love of nature began. The wilderness was as responsible for who I am today as were my parents. But slowly…the Everglades made way for apartment complexes. The pastures where I spent my childhood gave way to building developments. Forests transformed into shopping malls. Suddenly, we had become "connected", and yet everything that had once tied me to my "home" had vanished. Our barn and horses are now surrounded by multi-million dollar homes. The cows are long since gone. And the Everglades are now a distant friend. Flying home recently, I was struck by the stark reality of it all. Alligator Alley draws a stark line in the sand -- Everglades now separated from apartment-living by a single road. And I wondered to myself, "How much longer can this 'progress' last?"