Thinking about Castillo De San Marcos | Teen Ink

Thinking about Castillo De San Marcos

May 10, 2019
By WheelsAndGears SILVER, Winter Garden, Florida
WheelsAndGears SILVER, Winter Garden, Florida
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
In this world, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant. Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.

I was recently in Saint Augustine and did the things you do in the country’s oldest city, including visiting the country’s oldest masonry fort; Castillo De San Marcos. Looking at it, the structure still exudes a feeling of rugged stoicism, it’s walls casting out a message that dissents entrance, in spite of centuries of weathering it still fulfills one of its original goals; to be intimidating. If I had tried to enter this place three hundred years ago, I would have been greeted with a volley of muskets and cannon fire from Spanish soldiers willing to die for their empire. Within the walls I would have never seen inside of, would have been barracks housing those soldiers, a treasure room, a prison, a world of order within separated from a harsh and antagonistic world without. At its construction, the fort was a marvel of engineering, a glorious demonstration of power by an empire in its prime.

And now it’s not. Today the fort is a national park, children play where gunmen would’ve stood guard, and the barrier of entry isn’t being pelted with bullets or cannonballs; its 15 dollars. You can walk across the bridge that soldiers of centuries past had died trying to invade and to protect. You can watch a park ranger speak about the history of the walls that surround you, of the silent yet deafening narrative that is shouted by the bars on the windows, and the unchanged sea just outside.

Despite the walls behind glass, or dry moats, or the view, the most awe-inspiring part of my visit was seeing a poster detailing the life of a man who gave tours of this fort in the 1830s and ’40s. Looking at it, I realized that there will come a time when today’s historians will themselves become relegated to history. That modern tour guides may, in a century or so, become part of the tour. That there will be a day when the ocean of centuries passing washes away the people who remember all of this in the same way it took away that which they remembered.

After a while I found myself sitting on the tip of the fort, overlooking the sea below. Watching waves wash over the seashells that make up forts of both centuries past and the ones yet to be built. My little brother stood up behind me, arms outstretched, and shouted: “I am king of the world!” Before an ocean gust knocked him down and he muttered: “For a moment”. This fort was built by the kings of the world, it is being toured by the rulers of the globe, and soon enough it will be forgotten by the royalty of civilization. Whether we like it or not, we are all the monarchs of our world. We are here, yet to be relegated to history. Here to build and tear down. To remember and forget. And hopefully, always keep in mind that we are kings, but only for a moment.

The author's comments:

I'm not much of a traveler, but I thought the reflection that the fort prompted within me was worth writing about. I hope you enjoyed it :).

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