It was just after dawn when I set out paddling in my kayak to find nature in one of the least natural places on Earth.
I had launched into the Patapsco River from Fort Armistead Park near the base of the Francis Scott Key Bridge south of Baltimore. Truck traffic roared overhead on Route 695. Ahead of me, the morning sun sparkled silver in a rippling path toward the old Sparrows Point steel mill. Behind my back rose the smokestacks of a pair of coal-fired power plants, a chemical factory, sewage plant, and the mounded back of the city’s Quarantine Road landfill.
But the sky was blue, the breeze was balmy, and out on the water I felt away from it all.