Yesterday’s storms brought cooler weather, and when I stepped out of the house to take the bike downtown for a quick stop at the gym it was actually a little chilly. I mean, just a little bit, but still–I haven’t felt air that cool in months and months of the hottest summer in my memory, including all those New Orleans ones. The sky was a brilliant blue spotted with puffy white clouds, the kind of sky I wanted this summer when it was too busy sweating. I flew down empty streets to Harbor East, did a quick run through the gym with a stop at the sauna because my life is like a dream, and then walked to Fells Point for lunch and the first few innings of the game. But then I needed to be out on my bike, so I rode through the perfect-weather crowds around the harbor and over to Federal Hill and Fort McHenry to see if any Defenders Day activities were still afoot. Alas there were none, but I got to get this year’s America the Beautiful NPS Pass, watch a bunch of junior high school boys in the matching cheap navy blazers and khakis of a Boys Nation or somesuch pretend to pay attention to the mawkish film about the Star-Spangled Banner, do some research and thinking for a project I’ve been working on, and then I got to walk out to the fort itself and climb the ramparts and snap this picture, carefully taken to capture the most blue sky possible while also cropping out evidence that the War of 1812 might be over, but we’re at war as much ever. Today I needed to bracket all that and just check out the sky. And then it was time to pedal back home. I took Charles and I remember when I first moved here, seeing people ride their bikes up Charles and thinking that was strictly a young man’s game, that hill and all those cars, but now I don’t even have to drop myself into granny gear to get up the thing. Practice makes better. A quick stop for yogurt and gossip with V. and then I was home, a perfect summer day in the first hints of fall.