Roll #45: For the Love of Rhodium

Updated: Apr 1, 2020

Grab yourself a periodic table of elements and look up atomic number 45. Did you find Rhodium? No?---well in that case you're a moron and I cant help you. For those that did find it, here's a fun fact: Similar to me, Rhodium is noble---it is rare, extremely valuable, silvery-white, corrosion-resistant, and chemically inert.

Why am I going down this chemical road? I DON'T KNOW but let's keep it rolling.

In high school I had a cool chemistry teacher. He made the subject-matter fun. He often dressed like a surf bum, wore Sanuks, and when lessons were over, would gather students together to play hacky sack in the back of the classroom. Because of him, I jumped headfirst into my undergraduate education with a Biochemistry major. I thought I would use this major as a stepping stone to medical school or, at the very least, to become a world class chemist.

Fast forward a year an a half---I was sitting in a large room at Utah State University struggling my way through a synthesis problem on an organic chemistry test. And struggle I did. It was the dead of winter and when I received my results two days later, they matched the temperature---which that day was darn near freezing. Despite my struggles, I ended up with a B and pressed onward with my internship at a market-leading laboratory and physician shadowing at a local jail.

Eventually, I became disenchanted with both the lab tech and physician lifestyles and moved on to greener pastures.

Now that that's out of the way, lets talk about Roll #45. A roll of monuments, carousel rides, reflections, and a quaint trading post (St. Michaels) which is the self-proclaimed "Heart and Soul of the Chesapeake Bay".

St. Michaels in the winter is dead. Beautiful, but dead. In the summer however, the town comes to life. The upper middle class rent nearby cottages and stroll the streets in their newly acquired St. Michaels embroidered shirts and hats. The wealthy of course own and occupy the more extravagant residences in and the uber wealthy, not to be inconvenienced by lower classes, briefly dock their yachts for a quick bite with commoners before taking their good time back on the water. It's a case study in inequality.

Nonetheless, if you live in Maryland, DC, Northern Virginia, and maybe even Delaware, St. Michaels is worth a visit. The main street is lined with old gallery-fronted homes that have been converted into overpriced institutions of tacky gifts and confections. As you venture away from the main drag (particularly westward), things start to get interesting. You move into a an area inhabited by the population that lives in St. Michaels year round. The homes are simple, front lawns are scattered with children's toys, and cars in the driveway are well-used.

Eventually, you'll reach a beautiful waterfront park that runs parallel to a body of water and power lines and flanked by an interesting mix of workshops and farms.

As you walk the nature trail and cross the aptly named "St. Michaels Nature Trail Covered Bridge" you obtain a vision that screams winter. The water of the estuary becomes a mirror and reflects the cool blue of the sky and faded paint of the homes that line its shores.

Then, back to Baltimore and DC, where a battle ensued between a pair of trees to prove who was more dead. The tree on the right (bottom if viewing on mobile) has my vote.

While in Fells Point you'll likely encounter puddles along the harbor. In addition to serving as a way to get your socks wet, these puddles serve as an excellent means to practice cliché reflection photography. And if you think I'm above these clichés, think again.

While in DC we found George Washington---or maybe it was just his monument. Either way, we rode to the top and glimpsed DC's greatness. The rest of the day was spent strategically taking pictures of the back of my son's head in front of interesting things.

Although the sun was setting on the day, the sun had not yet set on our fun. Naturally, we stopped at a carousel on the National Mall run by con artists and coughed up $7 to go for a ride. After much contemplation, we decided to go with a metallic seafoam-colored dragon---the only of its breed on the carousel. As the music started and the dragon began to move, my son was overcome with joy. As was I. Happiness has a price and it's $3.50 per person. I'm going to go out on a limb and say its the most magical time one can have under $10---on the National Mall.

As we headed back to the car, we passed the Washington Monument once again. Seagulls were circling in front of the ginormous obelisk as nearby tourists sloppily snacked on flavorless edible nonsense from the food trucks below. I had one exposure left, so I captured the moment.

Camera: Olympus Stylus 120

Film: Kodak ColorPlus 200 (Decolorized)

When: January 2020

Where: St. Michaels, MD; Baltimore, MD; Washington, DC

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All