The Here & Now is ringing in the new year with reflections from residents. We would like to thank Robert Craig Baum, whose Wisdom 1096 project inspired this insert.

By Theodore Francis Baum

The timeline we’re living in currently doesn’t exactly feel real, and the reminders we have are both disconcerting and, at moments, weirdly normal.

In mathematics, some patterns are described as intersections of a geometrical cone: One angle is a circle, another an ellipse. Sometimes there’s an intersectional cut revealing a pattern that helps us see what’s actually going on, even as it may still be a bit mysterious.

And now we are in this moment, which we’re trying to understand but which is also kind of mysterious. We walk around with our masks hugging and sucking on our faces like scenes from the movie “Alien.” It’s all become so normal, until we realize why we’re wearing them. These are not normal times; they are hard for many of us, and what’s inside can be elusive, like the inside of a cone.

Theodore Francis Baum, a resident of the city’s Calvert Hills neighborhood, is a freshman at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where he’s majoring in physics and math. In January 2019, he co-produced and performed lead guitar in the College Park Arts Exchange’s community concert, “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Read more reflections here:

Maxine Gross: The best and the worst of it

Arun Ivatury: A delicate balance

Mary Anne Hakes: A more closely knit community

Robert Craig Baum: Three Februarys