The Swimmers Dilemma

On Monday my membership to the indoor pool expired. It coincided with an unusually cold snap. So cold for June that I heard Monday’s highest temperature was the lowest on record for Boston. Somewhere in the high forties which when I checked Sydney’s (Australia) early winter temperatures was comparable (around 9 degrees C). We also received some much needed rain, not just a sprinkling either, though I managed to stay dry whilst out walking dogs at the Animal Rescue League.

Tuesday was much of the same, but knowing I am going to miss three glorious weeks of Walden when I travel to Australia next week I headed for the pond.
When I arrived the parking lot was pretty bare and the sand on the main beach even moreso, except for a heavy vehicle trailing a rake smoothing the sand and making decorative circles around the empty lifeguard lookouts and further down the beach a number of ranger chopping down trees.

I bought my belongings down from my car in a plastic bag and only the bare minimal to shelter them from the rain. A fleece jacket, gloves and a beanie, not my usual accouterments for June at the pond. As I was the only one there the head ranger ok’ed I swim from the rock wall on the right side of the beach, out of bounds for open water swimming during the season. I was a little wary of the cold and didn’t want to swim across the center.
As it was, back in my shortie wetsuit and a neoprene shirt under it and with a layer of vaseline on my hands, it wasn’t until I got out after swimming down the right shoreline and back that I really felt cold. And my concern about bringing my hand out into the colder-than-water air was unfounded (or perhaps the vaseline was working as an insulator), only my feet left cold while I swimming.

But what I did notice and what draws me to the pond on these cold rainy days is how beautiful it is with the water dropping gently into it and how wonderfully peaceful it is with the small concentric ripples the rain makes. And just how much I like being the only one swimming. It feels like of special to have this amazing pond to myself. Like a gift and a treasure that holds me through all those anxious moments when my weather app tells me the temperature is nose diving and the sun will not shine.

So on Wednesday I decided with the rain cleared out and the temperature nudging slightly up the scale, that I would do it again.

This time I arrived on the beach to find a little more activity. Both a handful of other swimmers clad in wetsuits and the sand littered with more machinery. The rangers were removing large tree trunks that the previous day they had been chopping down. A little maintenance work while the pond was not overrun with visitors so that when it is, they have an easier time negotiating the path between the beach and the boat ramp. And yesterday heavy machinery raking the sand had been replaced by an army of idle lifeguards with hand rakes making sand mounds under the lifeguard chairs. Out on the pond I had been watching an outboard dingy, resembling the lifeguard dingy which was tied up on the beach while I had been swimming. It had been chortling around with men dressed in what looked like army uniforms (though I am sure they weren’t!) and a big telescope like instrument standing up at one end of the boat.


As I walked up the ramp, I wished I had asked the ranger I had been talking to what it was doing… but I forgot.


Thursday (yesterday) going for the trifecta of swim days in slightly improved but still not summer weather, I arrived at the pond clothed and ready to swim to find that it was closed to swimming due to high bacteria levels in the water. Not what I was expecting at this time of year. (It sometimes happens later in the season due to a spate of abnormally high temperatures and over population but it certainly hadn’t been suffering from overpopulation this week!)


Today, the message on the pond phone “highly recommends” not swimming due to continued high readings of bacteria but I am getting curious…
So I’m just about to go out (not in my swimming costume this time) to see what I can find out.

I’ll let you know!


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