Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Such a slender thread

Over the years I've written this blog, it has become less and less focused on current events, but I can hardly fail to take notice of the collapse early this morning of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore. This hits close to home; I may be an expat, but I'm a Marylander to the core, with a bottony cross tattoo on my shoulder and Old Bay in my veins, and Charm City will always be home.

I last laid eyes on the Key Bridge in 2022; I can't remember if Jessa and I crossed it during our last visit in August, but I saw it from the air in May, and even from thirty thousand feet recognised it instantly and knew I was home. Not only have I crossed the "Car-Tangled Spanner" countless times, but I've long been interested in Fort Carroll just downstream, built in the late 1840s and early 1850s by an army engineer named Robert E. Lee, some two and a half decades before he became the president of my alma mater.

I've also spent a fair amount of time—more than most Baltimoreans, I suspect—staring at the underside of the Key Bridge. Peregrines nest and roost there, and I've watched them through a spotting scope from Fort Armistead at the southern end of the bridge. At this writing, there are at least half a dozen people missing under circumstances unfavourable for survival, and obviously I am concerned for my fellow citizens, but I hope no one will mind if I also worry for "my" birds and mourn for the loss of their home.