Keep Your Cool: Thoughts on Summertime in Washington

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.

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Map of Mornings: The Road to Hampton Pool

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.

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