For all the talk of thunderstorms yesterday, today was gray, dreary, and just a little bit wet. But after waking up on the wrong side of the bed, I decided this afternoon demanded a bike ride. So I kept my skirt on, grabbed Jack, clipped in, and rode off to meet a friend in the Marigny to do some reading. It continues to amaze me how can fully depend on the bike to lift my mood, no matter what. Clipping in (and no–I haven’t fallen since day one!) and feeling my skirt flying back in the breeze as I pedal so fast my thighs are burning? Divine. After I finished up at the coffee shop, I decided to head to the St. Claude bike lane, where you can really let a bike fly. I saw this building half way down the block at Piety, on the side of St. Claude that took the most water during the flood. It’s shocking, the difference between the two sides of the street. But the city is filled with houses like this one, broken down, decaying, being reclaimed by vines. It’s spring, so the vines are blooming, and the town is just covered with these bright yellow flowers. They are so, so beautiful, an amazing contrast with the dulled exteriors of these flooded out buildings. But each beautiful flowered blanket marks loss and the results of abandonment. It’s a difficult contrast, but one that makes New Orleans uniquely, sadly, fantastic.