It’s too cold to swim today. The sun hasn’t found its route free of cloud. Cloud, low grey/white has taken over the sky. It threatens rain. It threatens snow. They say.
I walked out in my winter coat (did I need it this early last November? Or did I doggedly suffer cold inside my chest and try to push away winter by ignoring it?) I don’t even suffer winter in my chest when I swim… yet.
I’m not ready to give up, I cry inside my coat as I walk down the street the cold sneaking its way inside my loose silk hat. I don’t dare go out to Walden. The temptation. The rich black water, like velvet. I wrote a poem about it once, many poems actually, years ago. But perhaps it was too much self analysis to be good literature.
I was driving by the Charles River yesterday afternoon. The sun, the rich black deep, the slow rhythmic ripples of water lilting away from a sculler’s oar like a demon steadily advancing, interrupting the mirror surface. Walden would look beautiful today I think. The sun. I drive on.
There is something magical about the enormous bulbous womb of Walden Pond. When I swim, I am “called” into the center, the deepest, most remote-of-land place. The place I think it reaches down 110 feet below my body, lying as it might on a bed. Sleeping. Of course I cannot know exactly where the deepest place is. I only skim upon its surface skin. My only guide, the map attached to the cyclone wire at the top of the hill near the road where you walk when entering from the car park.
I’ve been doing this for years. Swimming into Walden’s heart. I feel safe there.
A woman asked me once when I was getting into my car after swimming to leave. ‘Aren’t you afraid you will drown? ‘No.’
I swim by myself, but I am never alone. I am looking for Durga and these days, now I know to look for her. She is always there.
**Durga is one of the Hindu goddesses. The universal mother. Strong and courageous. And compassionate.