Tree Stump on Rutland Between Chase & Eager

Tree Stump on Rutland Between Chase & EagerToday started with a zippy ride down the hill and to the right to the GLCCB in Mount Vernon to meet up with my fellow tour guides and goers for Baltimore Heritage‘s LGBT history walking tour of the neighborhood. We did our slow walk around the neighborhood, learning about the first gay bars and nightclubs, the first screenings of John Waters’s very queer films, the Friday night lesbian supper clubs of the super-rich in the late 19th century, and Gertrude Stein’s Baltimore homes where she learned to smoke, box, and not wear corsets. It was a perfect way to start a Saturday, made better by the brunch follow up and the post-brunch solo bike ride. I headed east on Biddle and just kept going, no destination in mind, really. And then I remembered the painted screens project over in East Baltimore, so I headed that way, snaking along the one ways and dodging parks until I popped out here, on Rutland between Chase and Eager and between two recently-made parks. Looking left was a new community garden ringed by compost bins and punctuated by a the portable strobe lights the Baltimore City Police Department has wheeled in here to send the message that this will be a happy community garden in a community that is community-friendly no matter what, you motherfuckers. Looking right I saw the blank building fronts of coming-soon townhomes, empty grass where under another BCPD strobe I’d walk a dog if I had one, and this lone tree stump growing out of the sidewalk and curb, resisting the community plans of EBDI. The googleymap shows the old tree still there, so I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before the stump is smoothed out like the rest of the neighborhood formerly known as Middle East, Eager Park in its place. I sat on a bench for awhile before continuing my ride around the neighborhood, checking out the painted screens, and climbing back up Broadway and through Oliver on my way home, a stop in Waverly for groceries. So many neighborhoods, so many lives, so many expectations, and so much history in this city, lucky, lucky me.

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