Shredding

Slice of Life 2020: Day 10

I often scroll through my phone photos hunting inspiration for a blog post. These two shred pics caught my eye.

“Sick moves” is what my 13-year-old calls these.

Just looking at the image, I see an outfit carefully crafted for that perfect vibe out at the park. The high tops coordinate with the sweatshirt; the khakis provide the extra stretch. Slick stickers embellish the helmet.

This photo also shows precisely what happens at the skate park. You drop into the pool on your board or scooter, get raw speed, then pop out with decent air whipping the tail around before you land securely on the deck.

If you’re lucky, you’ll land your trick and the dudes out there will say, “That was sick, bro.”

Earnest fun for a winter day.

Sketchy Factory Tour

When you’re 13, its cool to go to sketchy places. Maybe its always cool to go to sketchy places. Finding something memorable in an abandoned space is an adventure that’s hard to turn down. So, when my 13 year old asked, “Can we go to the abandoned factory district?” I said, “Let’s go.”

We threw the scooter and the camera bag in the back of the truck and recruited a friend to join in the fun.

There is something rich about riding a scooter in a blighted area. I’m not sure what that’s about, but these photos demonstrate that it was done and people enjoyed it.

Definitely, it is glam to model-pose around vines and decaying walls.

Having a best buddy along makes the experience just perfect.

Near our place, there’s an area of broken down, burned out factories from a bi-gone era. Back when this town used to be a manufacturing hub for textiles and furniture, before that work was sent overseas, this area was thriving. People punched a clock here. Products were made, sold and shipped from these concrete slabs. Folks made a living working inside these once functional walls.

That is all gone now. Nothing left but vines, broken glass, trash and graffiti.

All that is attractive to a 13-year-old bored on a chilly, blue-sky kind of day when the rain stops for the first time in a week and the sun finally comes out. When that happens, doing anything outside with a friend sounds mighty fine. In the shadow of a decrepit water tower the sun feels warm on your cheek. And, inside the concrete grave of this once burgeoning mill, a weed bears fruit.

Ana, Gabe’s friend noticed, “Its interesting to see how all the buildings go back to the earth over time.”

In the dead of winter, through this sketchy space, with these teens, hope abides.

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A Christmas StayCation: Sights from the Atlanta Beltline

What do you do when you get a new portable GO camera, a new deck cover for your scooter and a new tire for your BMX bike?  Well, you go to the Atlanta Beltline at Old Fourth Ward to test it all out.  

This year, we decided to stay put for Christmas and just enjoy the twelve days of break and feasting right here in our home metro area.  Everybody was burned out from school and all the days of preparation leading up to Christmas Day.  So, on December 26, we slept in and then cruised down to the Atlanta Beltline.  Now, if you haven’t heard about this uber-cool urban corridor connecting multiple neighborhoods, parks, and shopping districts, you need to check this out.   Ultimately, according to Beltline.org, the Atlanta Beltline will include 33 miles of interconnected trails and parks throughout the inner Atlanta area.  My favorite fact about the Beltline is that it grew out of a master’s thesis from a Georgia Tech student who saw miles of underutilized rail trails and blighted areas in the city that could be redeveloped for pedestrian use and passive green space.  We are so glad for the creativity!  Now we have a fun place to play on holidays and weekends. 

The day after Christmas, we started our adventure at the Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park.  Parking was free and the skate park was crowded with kids from 1 to 91, riding sundry wheeled platforms and bikes, playing on the playground and enjoying the brief sunshine on the green.  A quick walk south took us under a colorful graffiti-painted overpass to the Krog Street Market where we took a bathroom break and looked around at the various eateries.   A quick walk north took us past more street art, dozens of street walkers, a brewery and then to Ponce City Market.  The Ponce was booming!  As I glanced around, I saw grandmothers visiting from somewhere up north and children clutching new toys and 20-somethings meeting for a drink with old friends. It was such a vibrant scene. 

At some point, we took the cattle elevator to the roof top to view the out door ice skating rink and the arcade.  What surprised us all was the amazing view of the Atlanta Skyline!  The pollution decided to clear a bit on this late afternoon and we captured a nice view of the not too distant city against a muted winter sky.  

As we arrived back at the truck, everyone said they were glad for a non-shopping day and a time to test their new “toys” on the Beltline trail.  

 

Boyhood

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When you think about it, boyhood is fairly short.  There’s little kid-hood, that time when you are out of diapers and you can feed yourself, but you’re pretty reliant upon your parents.  Then, there’s boyhood, those years when you are mostly independent, but not yet bogged down with academic and social pressures.  It’s a time to create, dream, talk a big game, emulate, and be.  We’ve had three boys accomplish boyhood here.  Now, we are onto the fourth!  This is a powerful, exciting, wonderful time in a kid’s life!  As the observer – mom, I am enjoying all that evolves from these boyhood days.

With this boy, there’s scootering (verb-noun) which involves hours a day grinding a bar and jumping curbs. And, there’s coolness. “Wait Mom!  I have to fix my hair,” is called out each time I try to leave the house. Or, “Where’s my black jeans?” he asks.  “Oh! The same ones you’ve been wearing for 4 straight days?” I retort, knowing he wouldn’t be caught dead in any other pair. So, we wash a lot.

Recently, I was able to spend a day with three boys that are all as I have described above. The day began as an adventure to find an old abandoned warehouse for shredding.  We found the warehouse and an underground pipe… all great photo locations.

There’s nothing like shredding on a bright early spring day, especially at a deserted warehouse with graffiti and weeds and railroad tracks.  An old plywood scrap was found for a ramp and the shredding began.  Graffiti words sprayed on a garage door provided a nice backdrop for a recount of the day’s activities and a moment’s rest.  The tube was a bonus and gave mom a chance to test out the new light sponge lens.  It worked.  These tube photos were taken in pitch black with the only light coming from the sunshine pushing through on either end.

These are lovely times and I’m savoring.  These boys are all growing up and I’m observing and admiring, along for the ride.  It’s really quite a good situation.