After days and days of oppressive heat we had a cool one Wednesday, light humidity, and it was perfect for my bike commute to campus for a quick meeting. The ride to and from easily took three times as long as the meeting itself, which is a good ration of biking to working, if you as me. I took it easy, preparing for the taking it easy part of next week’s bike tour, and I did a great job pedaling slow, looking around, taking it all in. There’s this part of the Gwynns Falls Trail that goes through a tunnel and then up a decent, if short, incline. I’m terrible at this part of the trail. Continue reading
The weather’s better, so I’ve been on my bike basically every day. Unfortunately, though, that’s mostly because I have to be to get where I’m going. I’m never sick, but I’ve come down with a case of tonsillitis that just won’t go away. My tonsils are so inflamed and swollen that my primary care physician (yes, I have one of those! they’re awesome!), who never shows even a stray emotion betrayed one with a raised eyebrow and a toneless statement: “I have to admit those are larger than I expected.” They’re practically touching, and just a little bit of talking or heavy breathing, such as caused by biking uphill, for example, clogs the tiny throat hole that remains and makes it hard to breathe. It’s not exactly a recipe for pleasant biking, but there you go. Tuesday’s ride was a quick one down the hill, the bike doing all the work, and I was plenty chipper with my good mornings and how-you-doin’s. I shouted my apologies that I had no tools to help the guy dealing with a dropped fender and wondered why that guy was walking in shorts when it was still in the 30s until I noticed it was my friend C. walking to work, so I yelled my confession that I’d just run a red light. I didn’t get it all the way out, my throat clogged by its own self, but it mostly just felt great to be a part of the world.
The ride back was less fun. I was tired out, because being sick can tire you out, so I just put myself in an easy gear and took my time. I got off the bike to walk across the intersection of St. Paul and Mount Royal. I peered over the railing to watch the cars zooming underneath on I83, glad not to be in a car, at least. I snapped this picture of all the trash accumulating back there. What makes a person just toss their trash here instead of walking it to a trash can? What flavor Cold Stone did that person enjoy? How thirsty were you that you chugged that water and just threw the bottle over your shoulder? Or did the trash all blow in from somewhere else? There’s not a bus stop here, so why would someone stand on this particular corner and throw things here? And will it ever be cleaned up? Littering’s the worst, even when it’s just a bit out of sight, like this pile. And then I was back on my bike, a slow pedal home, eyes up. Here’s to feeling better soon.
I didn’t ride a bike today, but I did take a walk with my Sunday Morning Hiking Club. We did a repeat walk around Leakin Park, and here are some of the things I saw: a rusted out backstop with the winter remains of ivy climbing up one side, stands of skinny, naked trees, the undersides of giant thrown trees caked with mud, two cupped mushroom caps on stalks poking out of leaves, piles of deer shit, the leavings of experiments and observation, piles of corn, a deer stand, a yellow-green golf ball, the front wheel and pedals of a Big Wheel, a baseball worn down to the threads, a plastic grocery bag, an empty and unmarked brown glass bottle, an old tire, green scaly mushrooms growing out of downed trees, a tiny salamander in his tiny tree bark house, a sledgehammer head, and unidentified scat. There were other things, I’m sure, but I wasn’t taking notes. All in all we maybe tramped around 1/20th of the park. Good thing there are many, many Sundays in Baltimore in my future, eh?
Finally, grading’s done, workshops have been attended, and the sun has emerged after days and days of gray, which means, of course, that it was time for a bicycle ride. I took the Surly out to run some errands and then we headed over to the Convention Center, because I vaguely remember hearing there’s a heavy metal convention in town, and my ride downtown featured creative dodging of many pedestrians who looked like they might be in town for a heavy metal convention, so of course I wanted to see if I could get myself in there. Continue reading
Ok, something’s really wrong here. It’s February 1, and I went out in a flimsy dress and a light sweater and was plenty warm. I had a good day of self-care, car-care, and lounging before it was time to take the bike to the coffee shoppe to get back to work. I wrote some words, read some stuff for class, and organized students into small groups, not of their choosing, and then it was time to get back on the bike and head back up the hill to home. Continue reading
Well, I didn’t ride my bike there, but S. and I parked the car and walked the lighthouse trail to the lighthouse at Elk Neck State Park. This lighthouse was run by more women than any other lighthouse in the country–I smell a field trip! We walked down another trail, climbed over some rocks, and were on a little speck of sand on the Chesapeake Bay, which looked like a smudged watercolor in the gray light. It was beautiful. And then there was this wheel and tire embedded in the sand. Yes, there are people here and everywhere, and our crap is washing up and rolling down all over the place. Bah. But between you and me, even this was lovely yesterday. This part of the world is so, so pretty. Sometimes you have to leave the bike at home to see what you see by walking.
I had a long day at work, but I got to cap it off with a trip to the theater with some students–win! I ate a quick dinner, mussed around on The Facebook, and then hopped on the bike to Centerstage at 700 Calvert for Stoop Stories. The show was good, if a bit narrow (attention, middle aged white dudes: your “I was drunk/high at a college party/study abroad/sporting event” story isn’t actually all that interesting), but I was tired and most ready to head home at the end. Continue reading