Tree and Empty Lot at Aisquith & Autumnleaves Ct.

Today’s bike ride took me down the hill toward Baltimore’s impressive and frightening carceral complex for the Youth Justice Sunday event. I was a little late and missed the march, so I pedaled around, trying to find the crowd. I heard the police helicopter flying over head and tried to follow it, figuring the cops would be on the case, as they have been at every single march or rally I’ve been to in this city. That didn’t work, but eventually I found it at Dunbar Park. There was a good crowd and good music, but I was struck by a sudden case of shyness, so found myself just riding by. I took a left on Aisquith where I sat against a brick wall and talked to my mom about this and that and where we’ll go when she comes to visit and how I won’t make her ride a bike. I stared at this view for a good twenty minutes, the blue sky, the green tree missing its other half, the empty lot stretching out, layers of city stacking up behind it. I wonder what happened to the rest of the tree, and what this neighborhood was supposed to look like when that tree first went in. The rest of my ride took me through East Baltimore and Upper Fells Point, over to Patterson Park, and then around the Johns Hopkins East Baltimore campus and the surrounding neighborhoods, many blighted, unlike the hospital itself. I pedaled west on Eager and back up the hill to home, happy that the sun came out, sad that so much of the city looks the way it does. If I didn’t ride a bicycle, though, I would have no idea what some of my neighbors are up against.

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