I arrived at Walden just before 9 am on Monday to find Walden’s wardens directing traffic into the lot adjacent to the Thoreau Society shop. It was about 16 degrees fahrenheit and the sun did not have the strength to peek through the heavy grey cloud layer and I wondered what the attendance would be like.
My friend Cathy, whom I had not seen since we last swam together a month ago, had just texted that she was on her way. Stephanie and Frank, two other serious winter swimmers would also be there. I put on my beanie, zipped up my winter coat and stuffed chemical hand warmers into my mittens.
Winter in New England is not easy for one who loves nature, at least not if you love nature and warmth as well. Typically December is not the worst month. We reserve that for February! But the climate is changing all over the globe, and even if you don’t believe in it, it seems to be happening all around us.
I spoke to my mum in Sydney Australia earlier this week. On Tuesday (Australian Time) she was sheltering from the sweltering heat and humidity of the Australian summer. “It’s too early in the season for it to be this hot!” she exclaimed telling me it was over 30 degrees centigrade.
And in Boston on Tuesday, we were almost washed away in probably three inches of rain. Driving home along the freeway I felt in danger of hydroplaning on the flooded roadways.
So when Governor Deval Patrick, Maeve Valley Bartlett (Secretary Energy and Environmental Affairs) and Commissioner Jack Murray (DCR) presided over the groundbreaking ceremony for phase 1 of the new visitors center for Walden Pond on Monday morning, (construction to be commenced in Spring 2015,) it was good to hear them stress the energy efficient technology which has been integrated into the planning and the construction process.
The good stewardship which Thoreau pioneered at Walden will now be reflected in the center which will welcome its visitors.