A Spring Trip

"After a day of journeys and adventures it's good to come back down to life here in Baltimore. How can you capture that feeling of sunlight on your skin and forget who you were or where you were going or headed for just a moment? A moment on our journeys, our wanderings, our lifestyles, and day-to-day minutiae. It's a cool city, Baltimore..."

I have been tired and I have been exhausted. As I ended my third quarter of teaching, I began my spring break. Instead of going to the beach or relaxing in my house, I have been busy biking as part of the “Dear Baltimore” neon light installation in conjunction with Light City Baltimore and Thick Air Studios. Light City Baltimore is the United States’ largest ever light exhibition complete with interactive light exhibits, performances, and installations all around the Inner Harbor and surrounding neighborhoods. The organizers of the festival hope that it will lead to a “renewed Baltimore” and a celebration of the everyday people of Baltimore to show the world how they celebrated their own community.

The Light City Baltimore parade started on Monday around 7pm near Federal Hill. As we biked with our neon letters spelling out “Dear Baltimore” through the throngs of Baltimoreans, the flashes of hundreds of cameras blinded us as we heard them cheering, “Great job! Keep going! That’s awesome. Dear Baltimore! Wow!” It’s been such a long time since I have felt that energized as part of a living, moving exhibit that connected to something much greater than me. So far we have spelled “O Liberate MD” on top of Fed Hill, “Be It Moral Dear” by the Hustlers strip club, and “Read Baltimore” on the Inner Harbor Light City pathway. We are reaching the midpoint of this project, and I am just beside myself remembering how cool of an experience this is.

At some point, we were joined by a photographer who wore headgear made of reflective tendrils of a seatbelt-like material with piece of wood wound in reflective tape emblazoned on the front of his forehead. He called this other persona the Urban Shaman, and that the piece of wood symbolized the moment when he and another member from Thick Air Studios learned the art of "bending neon". Hearing this Urban Shaman sharing his story of learning a beautiful art form with such enthusiasm brought such a smile to my face. I forgot that there were people like him in this world with the energies to inspire and bring about changes.

I have been beyond exhausted these past few days. I spent the weekend hosting my friends from DC and having quite an adventure in this house with them. I felt like our art trip experience on Saturday really solidified my love for living here in this house in Remington and accepting my emotional transition from the dreariness of post-Peace Corps winter to a new beginning in Baltimore during the springtime. I am slowly fulfilling my goal of being more invested and a part of this community, this city, and this life.

Dear Baltimore,

Dear Baltimore,