Decaying Homes at Ashland & Castle

Decaying Homes at Ashland & CastleSchool’s out for summer–or until summer school, anyway. I’ve still got plenty of grading and summer course planning to do, but I started the week jubilant with the feeling that yes, I made it through that tough semester, the students survived and learned some things even if I wasn’t at my best, and I’ll never have to do the first semester after my dad was killed ever again. That part is both happy and sad–happy because days are so much better than they were at the start of the term, and sad because as time passes, he’s still gone. It’s nuts to me that he’s dead and doesn’t even know it. But I digress.

This Monday was also awesome because the sun came out for the first time in two weeks. If it feels like it’s been raining a lot in Baltimore, that’s because it has been–most consecutive days of rain since 1932, now the most in recorded weather history. But not on Monday–sun was out and after a morning of reading for pleasure, I was off on a ride, a vague destination of lunch at my favorite casual dining establishment. It felt so good to pedal south and east and south and east on streets I don’t travel every day on my way to work, reminding myself that I live in a place bigger than my own tiny world. I made it to lunch, scarfed down a veggie burger, and then headed back home, zig zagging north and west and north and west. And then I was riding through EBDI, that East Baltimore Johns Hopkins development that has plopped down some serious steel and glass amidst the ruins like this one, properties decaying after the planned disinvestment that makes Hopkins seem, to the casual observer who doesn’t live here, like a savior. It’s still striking to me, no matter how many times I ride through this part of Baltimore, the block-to-block differences, how quickly things change over here, but also much stays the same as the same group of folks get evicted from just the latest place when others decide to make it their home. Change is fast, and slow. And then I rode the rest of the way home, grateful for a peek at summer–both its bike rides and its opportunities to slow down and think for a minute.

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