It’s Friday and I feel an urgency to go to the pond. Especially now the season has officially begun and the life guards have taken to their lookouts. I return countless times to the weather app on my phone, checking the temperature, the degree of sun, clouds, the possibility of rain.
It becomes an obsession I am not proud of, this need to swim.
It’s about freedom. I know that. It’s about strength. It’s about feeling like I have accomplished something, no matter how many other things I do not accomplish in my day due to this need I have. Yet it is also about rhythm and balance, that which the right and the left side of me achieve as I gently twist my limbs around the central core of my spine.
On Friday the need grips me even tighter. Not only do I check my phone for the weather but I also check my twitter feed. If it is too hot, if too many people have taken leave from work, if too many mothers have collected their children from school and said “Hey, let’s take a picnic and go to Walden to paddle in the water,” as I would sometimes do with my kids in years past, will I be able to get into Walden? And if not Friday, how then on Saturday or Sunday when the temperature touches ninety?*
It is so counterproductive: the stress I feel as I make for the pond. Yet once there, once I cross the road and walk down the ramp, once I lay eyes on the water, a backdrop to the leafy trees, once the water edges my skin, once I glide into it feeling like I am both flying and sailing, once I am rolling through gentle crests and listening to the rhythm of my breath, I understand why I am obsessed.
And I know I will continue to be.
* in the summer when the parking at Walden Pond reaches capacity the pond closes for 2-3 hours