Sunday, September 17, 2006

Reclamation Project

Where I'm from out west, things don't grow so easily. So when the land is altered, the scars stay for decades, visible reminders of mining or forest fires still there years later.

Out here -- things grow. Things grow and they do it quickly. Abandon something even briefly and nature starts taking it back, tendrils snaking around, abandoned railroad tracks and buildings turning green, sidewalks overgrown with vegetation.

It's an impressive display of nature's strength, a feeling that if you ignore something for too long it's going back. Climb to the top of Stone Mountain (for non-GA residents -- oddball mountain carved with the images of Confederate leaders, once a big KKK hangout) and look back toward the city -- Atlanta looks like a momentary aberration, an island of gray in a sea of green.

above: abandoned railroad bridge, Ralph McGill Boulevard

Much of it can be attributed to our old friend kudzu, much of it to relentless planting, much of it to city government that forgets things exist, and most of it just to the fact that this is a pretty lush climate where things grow. My primary image of Atlanta the first few years I lived here was "green." I'm more accustomed to it now, but when you stop and look at it, it's all pretty amazing.

If I were of a more apocalyptic bent, I'd say that parts of Atlanta give you a preview of what the world will start looking like once we're wiped out and the cockroaches take over. But I'm not (off work today and about to go watch football and drink beer, so I'm a bit more optimistic than I have been) so I won't. Instead, nature does here what human planning often can't -- it gives a sense of charm and unpredictability to the city's streets.

1 comment:

a. said...

Once having lived in a harsh climate, and now living in a lush climate somewhat similar to yours (where everything grows all the time) I'm familiar with the idea that such an explosion of greenery is "charming".

However, after buying property in such an environment a few years ago, I've discovered another thing about all this lushness: it NEVER STOPS GROWING!

Seriously, given how bad a gardener I am, I fully expect these vines and trees to seize my house one day and suck it into the earth.