Billie Holiday Memorial at Pennsylvania & W. Lafayette

The weather report said it might rain, and a glance at the sky assured me that it would, so of course I put on a skirt and a light jacket and headed out for a long bike ride to campus–oh, the curse of aspirational dressing! I was cold all day. Regardless, it just felt good to be on my bike after three days off due to what I’ve decided was a pollen-induced multi-day headache. I zoomed down the hill and then took my right through Bolton Hill and Marble Hill over toward Upton. I snapped this picture of a statue of Billie Holiday at the corner of Pennsylvania and Lafayette, diagonally across from the Royal Theater marker. I love the upside down newborn baby vaguely issuing from Holiday as she sings God Bless the Child. This was some corner back in the day, but now it’s these two memorials, the Upton Courts apartment complex, and the gateway to some incredibly blighted neighborhoods. I continued my ride, passing churches, abandoned homes, boarded-up corner stores, a community garden, a school, and a mural featuring important figures in African American history. I idly wondered how to make sense of the proud history against the backdrop of civic abandonment–I mean, somebody’s lying, right? Because this isn’t justice found…–and made a note to think more about that, but then it was time to pedal harder to try to beat the rain. I was only slightly damp as I turned into campus. Three hours of meetings later and I was back on the bike, taking the scenic route on the Gwynn’s Falls trail down through the stadium complex where I idly wondered about the wisdom of filling the central downtown area with two enormous stadiums that just stand empty 90% of the time, but what do I know? Pedal pedal pedal, back up the hill, still cold, but happy to have taken the time to get in some miles and some thinking. Now please turn up the heat, Baltimore.

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