Respite from the Holidays

By the time I left the house I calculated I only had fifteen minutes to spend at Walden. It was out of my way when I was heading into Cambridge, but for the second day I woke far too early with a migraine and a list of pre holiday “to do’s” circulating through my brain. I tried meditating but the incessant clatter in my mind would not stop for more than a couple of minutes at a time, so I started visualizing Walden, the water stretched from tree top to forest floor and its sandy shores, with the expanse of sky, a dome stretched tight across it. It was then I added going to Walden to my list of “to do’s.”

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The sun was shining brilliantly as I sauntered down the ramp, glancing through the cyclone fence toward the pond. I scanned the water looking for heads bobbing in the rippled surface but could see none. The breeze was blowing back toward the beach, the beach itself deserted except for a mum and her two kids. They posed, leaning toward each other for a photo as she bent, using her legs as a tripod, to adjust the lens of her SLR. A couple strolled along the cement promenade, a group of four or five teenagers laughed and joked into scarves tightly wound around their necks, as they hiked up the ramp past me. I continued on my way, down the stone steps and onto the beach to lean against the wall where I would put my gear during the swim season. There was no bags, towels, wetsuits warming on the stone. The season must really be over, I thought. The last time I had heard of anyone swimming was Thanksgiving… Now Christmas is just around the corner.

As I leant against the wall I immediately felt a sense of peace drain through me. It flowed through the sun’s rays into crown of my head, through my torso and down into my legs. It flowed through my feet into the sand below them. My lips closed tight to the quiet within me. The silence, except for the gentle lull of the water brushing up on the shore, demanded it.

Even ten minutes of leaning there, observing the few small groups strolling along a distant shore, or a gathering closer to me posing for photos, was enough to reset my internal rhythm. It was enough to bring me down from the frenzy of a busy holiday season, back into my own center.

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