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BeltLine Minty's Dramatic Week (and My Friend Robin Rides Again)

Posted Sep 21 2013 7:59am
view of Midtown Atlanta from the Atlanta Beltline's Eastside Trail
So, I rode my bike four times this week, and would have ridden it even more if I didn't need to do other things such as work and make dinner and drive to and from a school an hour away each day (all of which has been surprisingly enjoyable). I kept hightailing it back to the BeltLine to watch an unfolding drama--a small yet symbolic representation of human nature, having to do with BeltLine Minty .

She was doing well out there. Growing. Getting watered occasionally (it hasn't rained since she went on the Atlanta BeltLine's East Side Trail two weeks ago). Making people smile (or so it seemed to me). Then, one day, I noticed three rocks near her.  Friends! Minty made friends! Oh, fun.

But then the very next day when I rode by, I found a crime scene! Minty had been assaulted, perhaps bashed by someone who used those very rocks! Not one thing on the BeltLine seemed to have been disturbed, yet poor sweet Minty was bashed in? I put it on Facebook and Twitter, albeit hesitantly as the "real" news has been so dire and why should anyone care about something so small and inconsequential as this? It seemed almost silly.

Yet, the next day when I rode by, I stopped short in shock. Someone had put Minty back together and propped up her sign! Those rocks that had been friends, and then weapons, were now supports. It made me feel, well, hopeful. Maybe small gestures do matter. Maybe seemingly-inconsequential things aren't.

The following day, my friend Robin (of Naked Truth about Hunger fame) rode the trail with me (note: Robin had been severely injured a year or two ago when she was hit by a car while riding her bike, so it is nice to see she's still in the saddle). Minty is near where we started, and I said, nonchalantly, "Oh, there's Minty up ahead, by the way."

Robin got all smiley and replied, "I feel like I'm about to meet a celebrity!"
We stopped and pondered Minty's fate while Robin posed with her. "Who would hurt Minty?" she asked. "It's like hurting Frosty the Snowman!"

"What happens next?" we wondered. I suggested various possibilities. Robin politely rejected them all and said why not just plant Minty in the ground. I said maybe I'd leave a shovel next time I come and we can see what happens. She said, "No, let's plant her now." And then she took a rooted piece of Minty and did just that.

As we rode away, Robin said to me, "You know how mint grows. I can see us coming back here in five years for your housewarming party and this whole hillside being filled with mint."

"We can pick some for the mint chocolate brownies we serve for dessert," I suggested. (See how to make candied mint here .)

And in that moment of shared belief in the power of simple actions, I knew exactly why Robin is my friend.

Oh, and yes, we rode through the mixed-use new development area (homes/restaurants/shops/greenspace/office space) that is becoming my favorite. I shot a very short video of it for you (the audio disappears in the middle--please note I was riding my bike while shooting it and holding onto the handlebars). 

A Live/Work/Play Development and Why I Like It from Pattie Baker on Vimeo .
It is right on the BeltLine as well as on the edge of a beautiful historic area and some lively arts and restaurant/shopping districts, plus it's a quick (like, 6 minutes) jaunt to downtown in the other direction. I have a dream of living car-free (again--I did this both while I was at college and when I lived in Manhattan in my early twenties), and this would actually be possible somewhere like this. There's no telling what the future holds, but for now, it's fun to "date" a neighborhood like this. I'm watching other areas of Atlanta closely as well, and paying close attention to the changes in my family's lives.

Here are my other visual poetries from this week. See them all on Around Atlanta in 180 Days .

eclectic food-for-thought for a changing world
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