I am a man of many hats. Ball caps, fishing hats, big straw hats that I use for working in the yard, and a bunch of old hats that I used to wear in the military. One of my hats is an engineering hat that I wear to support the design needs of a company in Baltimore, Maryland. My drive to Baltimore often takes me through neighborhoods with different home styles, old stores, graffiti, and hollowed out shells of houses. The people that live in these neighborhoods are resilient, working to repair their communities while they maintain their Baltimore pride. These are strong people living in tough neighborhoods; the mean streets of Baltimore.
Mean Streets of Baltimore
On my way out of the city one day, I passed through one of those tough neighborhoods. On the side of the street, I saw a little girl playing on the sidewalk. She was reaching for a dandelion on the small spot of grass that is between the street and the sidewalk. She pulled it up and clutched it in her hand like a rose. In that moment, I saw this little girl outside with her family, playing with a flower.
What really struck me about all of this was the sense of hope, joy, and beauty in it all. Here in the chaos of the street was this little girl playing. Cars zooming by, homeless people standing in the middle of the streets, strong inner city youth going about, cops, graffiti, and police helicopters whirling above. In that scene, in the essence of Baltimore, there she was, a small embodiment of hope.
It was all a flash to me, just a moment as I drove through on my way back to suburbia. But, that little girl made an impact on me. She reminded me that there is always hope, there is always faith, there is always God, and there are always beautiful people to be found. In these tough places there are children with vivid imaginations that will find a dandelion growing in concrete and will clutch it like a rose. As I write I want to keep this challenge. I hope that my books can be a little dandelion for someone that needs some hope in the mean streets of life.
Clint Plyler was born and raised in South Carolina. He now lives in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife April and three wonderful children. You will often find him at the nearest coffee shop with his laptop and sketch book, writing or sketching. He is the author of Night Night Hamlet.