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The picture said 'upper 90s'

The Baltimore Sun

Finding weather art doesn't seem like a very difficult task. The weather is everywhere. But finding art to freshly tell a very familiar story can be extraordinarily difficult.

I have spent many hours looking for images that say something real about the day. Often without success.

One recent Friday, the hottest day so far this year, I was looking for something that would reflect the oppressive weight of the day. I needed to send something early to be posted on the Web site, so there was not much time.

While driving on Park Heights Avenue just north of Cold Spring Lane, I stopped at the site of a renovation project. It was not quite 8 a.m. but one of the workers there, Zachary Gregory, a plumber who was preparing to go on a job inside the building, was sweating already. My photo of him ran on The Sun's Web site with an article.

In the early afternoon as the temperature continued to climb, I went looking again. I was keeping an eye out for something that could tie the sweltering heat in with a just-arrived leap in the cost of electricity used to cool homes and businesses. Or roofers, movers, someone sweating it out.

I was driving in East Baltimore with no particular destination in mind. Stopped at a light, I saw a young woman in her backyard with a green wading pool and a hose. Other kids were nearby waiting to jump in.

Some days I might have decided to pass this scene by because I am looking for anything other than kids in water on a hot day. It is one of those pictures you expect to see. But I stopped and was invited into the backyard by Meka Ricks, 14, who was filling the pool for her cousins. I was glad I did because I did not find another scene the rest of the day that said "upper 90s" like this one.

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