Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Unrequited love and labor

Thought I'd post some thoughts about my recent trip to Florida.
First, let me say, Florida is not all it is cracked up to be.
It just isn't.
It's mostly swamp and full of strangers...completely full of strangers.
It isn't New Jersey.

Second, I want to tell you about the Coral Castle.

Many years ago, this very small guy from Latvia came to America to make his fortune so he could marry his sweetheart back home and bring her here to enjoy life in the United States.
He set out to find work as a stonemason. So he goes to Florida, where there is only oolitic limestone, not sincere bedrock. (The reason there are so many sinkholes in the state is because rainwater can, over time, erode limestone.) But despite this, the little guy finds work, has kind folks take him in and get him adjusted to life in the US.

Then, somewhere in-between all this, he decides to start building something out of the limestone...a castle of sorts...where all his dreams are played out.

Hint: The woman of his heart's desire evidently either didn't want to go to America or didn't want him to go or thought he was a raving lunatic. She turned him down, yet, despite this, he started building his dream home out of solid rock for her.

Somehow, this little dude at less than 5', not even 100 lbs., created these odd standing stones. No one ever saw him work. No one saw how he lifted some 30 ton rocks out of the pits where they were dug. No one saw how he got them upright. No one actually saw how he carved, sculpted the shapes, or how he was able to align them with the sun and moon and North Star.

 He did some of the work 14 miles away from where the Coral Castle now stands. Then he got more property, along Rt. 1, and moved most of the already made rocks to where they stand today. Magic? Electronic stuff? The use of two logs in an A-frame?

Nobody knows because nobody ever saw him work. Nobody knows.
Once, two teenagers sneaked by and thought they saw him moving stones, but nobody believed their wild tale.

Here's this garden now. It is a tomb, a reliquary, a tribute to one man's determination.
And it is overwhelmingly sad to walk among the stones and hear the story. "Here is the bedroom he carved for his love and himself, with two small cradles for their never to be had children." "Here is the heart shaped rock table that weighs three tons." "Here is the swinging door rock that used to pivot on a car axle but when the metal wore down, modern day engineers could not fix."

The guy was either a genius or a maniac.
But he was all alone.
He had no wife. No children. No life other than his rocks.
He died of lung cancer in a hospital, all by himself.

I cried.
My kid, on the other hand, stated that "he should have gotten over it and gone on with his life."

Ed Leeskalnin just couldn't.

No comments:

Post a Comment