I was not expecting Walden to be closed. Hot, sunny, a Friday in early September.
The swim buoys and ropes had been pulled so quickly after Labor Day it felt like Walden had once more been handed back to the population of regulars who swim from anytime after February (not me, but I do know some hardy folk who do) to December.
But as I neared the turn lane from route 2 to 126 I was dismayed to see the A-frame bill board planted in the middle of the road. As the light was red, I quickly consulted twitter and sure enough, the pond was at capacity and closed till 6pm.
I got out of the left turn lane at first thinking I would come back at 6pm and headed down Walden Street toward Concord center. But when I saw the stream of pond goers in bathing suits and flip flops straggling down the road next to me suddenly I was parking in the small lot next to the trails, and changing in the back seat of my van to join them.
My walk through Walden woods, the gentle rustle of the leaves, the hum of insects and twerp of birds were a perfect foray into peace that Walden instils. I forget that Walden has more to offer than the pond, a spectacular swimming venue for cooling off, meditating, exercising, and a beach for children and families to play on, eat off and those that love, to sun themselves on. Yet Walden reaches further beyond herself into the woods and though often remaining less visited than the pond, they always part of its history. I very infrequently give myself time to explore this aspect, but every time I am pushed to because of my desire to swim, the woods as well as the water offer me refreshment.