July 30, 2014, Washington, DC: Happy summer, neighborhood nomads! What better way to celebrate the season than by visiting family and friends in New England, an area of the country we called home for many years and have revisited ever since. This month, we followed the scents of salty air and charcoal grills up the East Coast during our ten-day vacation, stopping to play in its parks and waterways along the way. On the itinerary was a wedding in Portland, Maine, brunch in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow, and a paddle with my dear sister out of Connecticut’s Southport Harbor. All around not a bad way to embrace the heat of July.
June 7, 2013, Washington, DC: This Friday afternoon rain is the very best kind. The kind that blurs and softens this place so it looks nothing like it did earlier this week when the sky was so blue it was severe against the hard marble buildings that slice into Washington’s skyline. Today’s rain is the kind you enjoy through cracked windows to allow that fresh smell of summer to seep into the apartment. The kind of rain that slows you down after an anxious week and keeps you indoors, for once not distracted by the river and parks and life of a city that won’t stop beckoning you back outside.
July 8, 2012, Washington, DC: The neighborhood chugged along slowly during those last heavy days of June and the swelter of early July. Greens wilted at the outdoor market. Thick heat rose off cement streets. A musician played a slow, sad song above the Metro platform in the midday heat. We moved deliberately, careful not to make a single unnecessary move in the onslaught of Washington’s summer.
Not to say the place was uneventful, just intense: In the heat of late June, our neighborhood hosted a slew of reporters who came to witness a monumental health care law deemed constitutional down the street at the Supreme Court. Twenty-four hours later, a foreign storm called a derecho downed trees and crushed cars throughout these city blocks. The hum of satellite trucks dissipated as the buzz of chain saws ascended. We stayed inside, irritable yet grateful to have ice, air and power. Much of the region did not.
June 10, 2012, Washington, DC: These are roads I know like the back of my hand. They are the routes we traveled to swim practice and gymnastics and piano lessons and school. Yesterday morning in North Baltimore, I instinctively took shortcuts down side streets and noticed changes in traffic patterns, piecing together a map of so many mornings from my youth. We spent a lot of time in the car growing up in North Baltimore.
Given that it’s summertime, I retrace the best morning drive of all: the one that led straight to Hampton Pool.