Sidewalk Closed Sign Along Druid Park Lake Drive

A scene of road construction with the sidewalk blocked off. There is a fence on the right and a busy street is on the left.

I canceled my Monday classes because I could tell we all needed a mid-semester breather, even if the institution thinks we can hold off on that until the end of November. How can I tell? Well, I’m exhausted and overwhelmed, and many of my students are too. Attendance is off, and those who come ready to participate sure do a lot of participating to make up for those of us who are struggling to keep our brains focused enough to pay attention. We are doing great considering, and we needed a day to catch our breath.

I spent my free day grading, reading, prepping for class, writing, and finally, at the end of the day, riding my bike. I had planned to just zip down the hill to the gym, do a little weight training, head back home. I had gotten a lot of work done, but it had that effect getting lots of work done sometimes has–reminds you how much more there is to do. What a drag. But it was a beautiful day and the gym could wait, so I headed over to Druid Hill Park for a ride around the reservoir to match Sunday’s ride around Lake Montebello. Neither of them are lakes, just fyi and as a reminder. But anyway.

I took it slow, up around the museum, down past that Hopkins day care center, and along the path over the falls. I pedaled slowly up the hill into the park. They are starting to install the slides and things at the pool they’ve been building forever, and it is going to be so much fun. I got up to the reservoir loop and caught my breath as I did a turn around it, past a couple of folks using the gym equipment to do pull ups and then past a few pedestrians. It was a quiet day in the park, but I said my how you doings and exhaled the work of the day.

I stopped at the end of the path to snap this picture. Sidewalk Closed. It feels like it has been closed forever. I miss the days of doing laps, especially in the spring when the red winged blackbirds come out and the cherry trees show out their magic. Someday this construction will be done, the reservoir water made safer, and the path will be continuous. This fencing is new since my last ride over here, and there is new asphalt on the other side, suggesting movement on the path is happening. Oh, I cannot wait!

I turned around, rode back, rode up past Safety City and the axe throwing spot, the baseball fields, the tree nursery, and did that loop through the overgrowth that makes you feel like you are not in the city any longer, though if you peek closely enough, you can spot I83. What a relief to be up here in the park on my bike instead of trapped in a car on that freeway.

And then I made my way out of the park and took the trail down to Falls Road, blocked off to car traffic due to construction. I hadn’t been down that way in a zillion years, and it was so pretty, and it smelled just terrible. I made my way back up to the Maryland Avenue cycletrack and down to the Centre Street cycletrack and stopped by the gym. Thirty minutes later I was back on my bike and the weather had changed, all wind and hints of the rain that would roll in later that night. I zipped up the hill, rolled into the backyard, said howdy to the neighbor next door who was making soup including some of the rosemary we grow out front of our house, and then headed inside to make my own soup and settle in for the night. What a gift of a life!

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