It was cold out and I’ve got a little cold, but sometimes you just need to ride your bike, so I decided to put on my fancy wool top (thanks, Pops!), tights, long sleeved socks, and some gloves (thanks, S.!) and pedaled over to campus. The sun was out and I traced my regular route, thinking about my first visit to Baltimore. I worried about figuring out how to find this place beautiful, with its row upon row upon row of endless row houses, most of them boarded up, brick peeling away. I mean, I moved here from New Orleans, the most beautiful place on earth. But here I am, a few months into my residency, and it’s positively beautiful here. I rolled along, watching the neighborhoods change from block to block–the Bolton Hill-Marble Hill-West Baltimore change is shocking–feeling a lot more at home than I did the first time I tried to ride a bike to campus. I stopped to take this picture of this row house on Hollins at Pulaski, all dolled up for Christmas. There’s a Santa, garlands, a snowman, wreaths–I mean, that’s some serious Holiday Spirit lodged between vacant properties. I went to meeting after meeting after meeting until leaving early to try to beat the sunset through at least the hairy part of the commute (Caton Avenue and Wilkens, I shake my fist at you!). I retraced my steps, and the Christmas house was all lit up, the only light on this particular block, but some days you see the lights and shine, not the empty and abandoned houses and alleyways; that doesn’t mean you forget that’s also the neighborhood. The ride home was long but easy, and lucky me, I got a good couple of hours in the saddle today.