When Walden reopened on Tuesday afternoon in the midst of a clear blue sky and warmer than normal October air, I arrived to swim with a heaviness in my chest. The weight of knowing that a swimmer had been lost to her depth two days earlier.
I needed to make an offering. To acknowledge the preciousness of human life, the loss that one leaving the physical realm has on loved ones left behind.
I was not alone in my sentiment.
I had spoken only an hour or two earlier to a swimmer friend and we shared our mutual respect.
“How will it be to go back?” we asked each other. I, sitting on my wooden porch in East Arlington, looking at the small statue of the Buddha just across from me. She, in her car, driving to the pond.
Neither of us knew the answer.
But it was the Buddha who told me in the instant I asked this question of myself.
…With gratitude for the life we have. Appreciation for each precious moment. With respect and reverence for that which is lost.
So I went to Walden.
My swim was dedicated to the healing. I did not do this thinking I have any magical powers.
I know I do not.
But with a request to the Buddha, whom I know blesses this pond, that healing might take place.
And in the silent green waters of the mirrored deep I swam, praying for light.
I swam to the place i was told the swimmer was lost. Circling and re-circling in and around the coves of the south shore where a fellow swimmer reported he had been found. I stretched my body out from the banks some seventy five feet. Trying my best not to feel fear for what could happen to any of us. But more to understand the passing from one realm to the next. The sliding away of breath and body into spirit.
I re-circled with the need to do a better job, to not allow my mind to stray to thoughts of my self, thoughts of my own safety. But to stay on the path of seeking, in my own small and insignificant way, a smooth transition for the man who passed from water into the sunset on Sunday evening.
Two or three times since I have gone to Walden to pray for healing. And for the help of the Buddha that I might be the best me I possibly can. For my relationship with those around me in this physical realm for whom pain is an open wound.
For loss and suffering.
You see, I do not know how to do and say, how to be my best self, unless I have the Buddha light inside guiding me.
Unless I know to listen, I cannot hear his words.
When I listen, the Buddha whispers in water.
So I may glide clumsily across green sheen.
Spreading harmony with body and breath.
And ripples that expand over the world.
For the healing of us all.