I spent my Saturday standing on the corner of 33rd and Ellerslie up in Waverly, bike leaning against a street sign, cheering on the gazillion runners taking part in the Baltimore Running Festival. My sister’s running the NYC marathon at the end of the month, and watching her train and knowing her story, well, I know that every single one of the runners passing by me that day had a story, too. I’m pretty much a marshmallow, so that thought had me choking back tears as I clapped and wooted for a good two hours before finally tearing myself away for a much-needed bike ride. This one took me on my new easterly route to southeast Baltimore, and oh boy was I glad to be on my bike instead of sitting in traffic wondering if there was any way out of the running fest’s road closures. I passed runners at a few other spots, wooted, and then was snaking my way to a lunch date with a stack of papers I had to grade. It was a perfect sunny fall day, and Baltimore was being itself–all blue skies and cheerful people and drivers honking even though it’ll get you nowhere and fellow bicyclists keeping their heads down and stoop-sittters sharing my how you doin’s. It felt good to stretch the legs in a direction that wasn’t the commute. I took a new route back home until I finally made my right on Washington. Until I moved to Waverly I had no idea that street takes you straight into the glorious Clifton Park and onto Alameda (I think that’s what it’s called, anyway), right to the neighborhood. This isn’t news to cars, of course, for whom Washington is a main north/south drag. It’s already amazing to me how quickly it’s become normal to pass piles of rubble like this one, the abandonment already a steady background. I showed the picture to my ladyfriend, who drives this route daily. It’s been like this since she started driving that way. Yep, I said–it’s been like this long enough for plants to grow out of the pile of rubble there. It’s my new route, too, so I’ll keep an eye on it, see if anything changes. It will, of course, if only because life won’t stop sprouting up.