Privet property.

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Yesterday, Sammy and I drove through the mist and fog up Highland and Lenox Roads to the low area where Peachtree Creek and a rail line cross through the twisty residential stretch that is our common way to get to the splendors(?) of Buckhead. This time, though, we pulled into a driveway just this side of the railroad tracks and parked our Prius among several others just between a new Georgia Power substation, crossed by high tension lines, and a sign that said “Morningside Nature Preserve.”

This is all because of a tweet I picked up that simply said the park was being dedicated Monday at 11 am. It didn’t say that this was culmination of nearly a decade of struggles of a bunch of neighborhood organizers, the city parks and rec department, and enough cooperative people at Georgia Power. It didn’t say that the way these dedication things are apparently done is someone from the city brings out a small portable awning (it looked like the rain might hit full blast any moment) and a small portable podium with a microphone and then the folks who worked hard on it gather and tell themselves how much they appreciate each others’ efforts. A few pictures are taken. There is applause.

But that’s more or less what happened, and when they packed up the speakin’ gear and drove away wishing it was a warmer, drier day, Sammy and I strolled up the trail, through a small woods separating a condo complex and the power line cut, and then across, over through some trees, down a set of wood and steel stairs to the Peachtree Creek floodplain, and then up through a muddy stretch along the creek that probably was part of the storm runoff system Atlanta has been fighting to modernize. Then, we clambered back up the steps and we were back to the car after probably 20 minutes.

We took some pictures with the old camera and the new one, and Sammy wrote about this promptly yesterday in her blog, and I followed her links this morning and paged through some of the many documents involved in keeping some 30 acres of intown greenspace from becoming wasteland of the industrial, mcmansional, or kudzu-covered sort. I admire what these folks were able to do, although in the greater scheme of things most Atlantans will probably drive by, maybe a few wondering why a Georgia Power substation has a ‘nature preserve’ sign at its apparent entrance. Probably the more visible signs of the negotiations between city, neighborhood, and the power company is that Lenox is getting sidewalks that run all the way up to Cheshire Bridge, and the power company footed a chunk of that bill. Yay, sidewalks.

At any rate, I’m always amazed how much documentation and plain old investigation has to accompany some sort of public endeavor like this one…and I particularly got a chuckle out of the legend that ran down the side of one of the appended maps: “Map 11: Vegetation: Invasive Exotics.” It’s the series of boxes on the right running the length of this post.

I smile and shake my head because I had no clue that there could be such a thing as quantifiable (and precisely mappable) levels of invasive species, like kudzu and privet (which, as you might guess, to me are just “that fast-growing prickly stuff you get in the south you can’t walk through.”) And I really get a quiet hoot out of the idea that if you stack them as they did in this legend you get a kinder, more botanical homeland security threat scale for our times: “We’re at Privet Level 2!” “Careful, we may reach Kudzu Level 5!”

So I wanted to show you this scale (clicking on it leads to a PDF of the whole map), and get a chance to use my favorite lame line (Sammy is so patient when we hike) as the title of this post, and, in one last exhale of pun-osity, let me say that I (metaphorically) sign my name to this post because I don’t want it to be euonymous (level 3).