The Beltline is so cool.
I walked the Reynoldstown section the other day. Loved it. It's not paved yet, still a dirt and grass trail with train rails remaining. I kinda like it that way -- although it'll also be nice when it's paved and the connected segments are long enough for a decent bike ride. Currently this segment, less than half a mile, is not even long enough for a decent walk. But it's a fun excursion nonetheless, especially with the Art On The Beltline exhibition going on through Nov. 11.
I found the art along the way evocative, inspiring, and relevant to the setting. There's a sculpture made of biodegradable paper embedded with wildflower seeds that will gradually decompose into the surrounding earth. Brings to mind a line from a song: "Wildflower seed on the sand and stone, may the four winds blow you safely home..." It'll be fun to come back next spring and summer to see what flowers may be growing there.
There's an "Enchanted Forest of Books" with great books, pages curled into shapes like birdhouses, dangling from its branches, lending a peaceful, serene atmosphere in the dappled sunlight below. Makes you just want to curl up beneath it with a book or a daydream. Tree of knowledge? Certainly trees have much wisdom to impart, if we care to observe.
Sadly, the Knitterati creation of serpent-like creatures made of multi-colored yarn covering the concrete railings of a street overpass was missing. I thought it hadn't survived the drenching rain of a few weeks ago, but turns out it was stolen. Who would steal a bunch of yarn that's been out in the elements for weeks -- and why? For shame! It was fun while it lasted.
My fave may be the piece titled "Fifty Five Square Miles" depicting a map of the Beltline made out of natural and found materials. I laughed out loud at some of the detail representing key sites in the city: a bunch of flowers where Oakland Cemetery is; a Coke can as the Coca-Cola tower; a circuit board for Georgia Tech (cracked me up); a fistful of green leaves for Piedmont Park; "Carter For President" campaign buttons at the Carter Center; King buttons at the MLK historic site; a toy elephant where the zoo is; next to that, tiny Union and Confederate flags planted together for the Battle of Atlanta; rows of MARTA tokens mapping out the MARTA lines; with the Beltline as a string of pebbles weaving through it all. Seems rather incongruous to represent the Beltline as pebbles, I'm thinking, when all the other items are so clever. Why not use toy train tracks or something? But it just hit me: those pebbles are gravel! A play on the name of Ryan Gravel, the guy who conceived the Beltline. Brilliant! Hilarious! Go see what else you can find.
Wanting a longer walk, I trekked around the surrounding neighborhood of Reynoldstown/Cabbagetown. (The two sort of run together in my mind, like Va-Hi and Morningside, or Candler Park and Lake Claire.) Such a colorful neighborhood, such a cool vibe: the cute brightly painted houses, intriguing gardens, delightful yard art, loft apartments, cool playscapes, rooster crowing in a yard, urban art painted on walls, the young hip presence -- like we were in Va-Hi and L5P back in the day.
Cabbagetown always held an allure for me, ever since going there to hunt for cheap household treasures back then, driving through the enticingly creepy -- and now world-famous -- Krog Street tunnel to get to Mr. What's-his-name's (anyone remember?) junk store. It was in a little strip of ramshackle storefronts, with double doors, where the Carroll Street Cafe is today, I believe. I still have the swivel rocker I got there decades ago, long reupholstered now, mercifully. And the beautiful shell-shaped soap dish (soapstone? meerschaum?) that I kept all these years. I like to ponder how the dish landed in the junk store; who might have once possessed it before it found its way to me. Maybe one of Atlanta's early families whose history so interests me. Or perhaps a woman who now lies across the street in Oakland Cemetery, as history continues to unfold around it.