This month I moved into an apartment in Baltimore.
A couple weeks before my move, in the midst of packing boxes, I drove into the city for the Monument Lighting. For the past four years, I missed it because I had a graduate school class or had to teach, but it has long been one of my favorite Baltimore moments.
The first year I lived here, I went to the Monument Lighting with friends. That was the night that I first stepped into the the Belvedere Hotel, the night I learned about the wrought-iron boot scrapers that crouch beside the marbled steps of brownstones. It was one of the nights that immeasurably marked my belonging.
Now I live just a few blocks away in my own brownstone apartment. Here I’m starting my new year in this place that is my old friend, and my brave new Baltimore.