Heal­ing Park­land’s pain

Burn­ing cer­e­mony for Tem­ple of Time set for May 19

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local - By Su­san­nah Bryan Su­san­nah Bryan can be reached at [email protected]­sen­tinel.com or 954-356-4554. Find her on Twit­ter @Su­san­nah_Bryan.

CO­RAL SPRINGS – A solemn si­lence sur­rounds the Tem­ple of Time, some­times punc­tu­ated by the sound of quiet weep­ing or soft whis­pers.

But in an­other six weeks, the tem­po­rary sanctuary built to help heal the pain of Park­land will be gone.

The tem­ple, at 9551 W. Sam­ple Road in Co­ral Springs, will go up in flames on May 19, with a cer­e­mo­nial burn tak­ing place at 7 p.m.

The 35-foot-high wooden tem­ple, built by Cal­i­for­nia artist David Best and his 24-per­son crew, opened on Feb. 14, one year af­ter 17 peo­ple were killed and an­other 17 in­jured in the mas­sacre at Mar­jory Stone­man Douglas High.

Thou­sands have vis­ited the tem­ple since it opened, leav­ing be­hind mes­sages of love, hope and pain on its walls.

The mes­sages were sim­ple but heart­felt, scrawled on prac­ti­cally ev­ery inch of wood with col­ored mark­ers placed at the tem­ple.

“Hope you find peace,” wrote one vis­i­tor.

“We miss you an­gels,” wrote an­other.

“Some are heart­felt mes­sages to the par­ents who lost their chil­dren or to the chil­dren who lost their par­ents,” said Lynne

Martzall, a spokes­woman for Co­ral Springs, home to nearly half of the stu­dents who at­tend Stone­man Douglas.

Some vis­i­tors have left be­hind shirts and stuffed an­i­mals or me­men­tos.

“Peo­ple are leav­ing be­hind a painful mem­ory,” Martzall said. “And that’s what the tem­ple was meant for. There’s very lit­tle room to write.”

Best, 74, built his first tem­ple 19 years ago at Ne­vada’s an­nual Burn­ing Man Fes­ti­val. He has since cre­ated more than a dozen, from Nepal to Ire­land. Within a week or two af­ter the tem­ples open, they are tra­di­tion­ally sent up in flames in a cer­e­mo­nial fire.

Best usu­ally gives the tem­ples a name. He named his lat­est cre­ation the Tem­ple of Time, he says,

be­cause it will take many, many years for the com­mu­nity to heal from the sor­row of the Valen­tine’s Day shoot­ing.

The tem­ple was sched­uled to re­main stand­ing for three months to al­low for as many vis­i­tors as pos­si­ble.

Vis­i­tors are welcome to visit the Tem­ple of Time un­til 5 p.m. on May 19.

Com­muters may want to avoid the area that Sun­day af­ter­noon, Martzall said.

Sam­ple Road will be closed in both di­rec­tions from Univer­sity Drive to Co­ral Hills Drive from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

TAIMY AL­VAREZ/SOUTH FLORIDA SUN SEN­TINEL PHO­TOS

Kelly Merkur hugs 11-year-old daugh­ter Cami as they visit the Tem­ple of Time in Co­ral Springs on Feb. 14, one year af­ter the Park­land school shoot­ing. The tem­ple will be burned in a cer­e­mo­nial fire on May 19.

Peo­ple held hands and made a large cir­cle around The Tem­ple of Time to ob­serve 17 min­utes of si­lence at 2:21p.m. Feb. 14 in Co­ral Springs.

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