And finally I was back on the bike after a weekend of moving N. from up the block down and up the stairs to my house, a couple days of freezing rain, and a long holiday weekend in New York with the sister. N. spent her day reorganizing the never-been-organized kitchen, and she gave me a list of things to get from the stores over at Canton Crossing with strict instructions to get myself lost on the way there. I didn’t get lost, but I did manage to figure out where Greenmount Avenue goes if you just follow it down–that desolate place called Old Town Mall. I stopped there to snap some pictures of the seagulls perched on the piles of dirt amidst the rubble of this Night of the Comet, sharing the space with just a couple of other people, hulking about in heavy winter coats against the chilly day that was still a warm up from the past week. I continued my ride down and to the left, happy to be back on the streets of Baltimore. I came up on the decrepit and abandoned youth center on East Baltimore Street, followed the sharrows to Caroline, and then took a direct route to lunch and various and sundry household items that I could fit on my bike for the ride home. I took the long way on the way back, too, up Highland Avenue and down, snaking over and up, over and up, over and up to home. I stopped at my right turn on Luzerne to snap a picture of this brilliant green door that opens on to what I don’t know. These are my favorite parts of a bike ride–the surprise dots of color, the stoop that’s alive on an otherwise empty block, the unexpected how-you-doin’s from the men strolling across the street in front of my slow uphill pedals. Gotta keep the eyes keyed to layers or living in this town is rough going. And then I took a left on Preston and a right on Guilford and was back on the old route up the hill to home, and yes, it is so, so good to be home. Baltimore’s a slow burn, but it has gotten up under my skin.