Arriving at Walden this morning reminded me of arriving at a concert at Tanglewood (the outdoor summer concert venue of the Boston Symphony Orchestra) some years ago. It wasn’t as I was lined up on Route 126 waiting to enter the car park, though at 8.10am I was a touch anxious that at that early hour the parking might already be ‘at capacity’ … please oh please may there be a space for me!!! … It was as I was scurrying through the lines of already parked cars with my bag over my shoulder, following the flow of picnic-makers and beach goers, all of us making our way to a common destination. It was as we wove our way through that last line of cars past the port-o-johns and into the wooded area which rounds the newly landscaped grounds of the visitors center that the thought came to me.
I glanced over toward the entrance of the park. Still a steady stream of cars, two abreast, dribbled along the road. My DCR buddy was too busy to notice as I stood for a moment, waving and calling out his name, too quietly for him to hear. I did not want to distract him from his task. I moved on in the flow of foot traffic making for the pond.
Across the road the show had begun. The chopped blue of the pond, this summer has been significant not only for its heat and humidity but also for its winds, speckled with faces and small craft. Even if the larger expanse of sand, left relic by the shrunken water levels, meant that while the car park was teeming with life, the beach might largely remain vacant. But the wall, the self acclaimed meeting point for open water swimmers was colorfully decorated with towels and bags. One can always tell which of the many populations of pond users are ‘in residence’ by observing the spread of possessions on the beach.
When I glide into the water to begin my swim I immediately know why each morning I rise early and make my way to the pond. My anxious wait in the traffic on Route 126 and prayer that I will not be turned away is immediately replaced by a sense of tranquillity. As I begin the flow of breath and body I am reminded of the comment another of the DCR staff made to me the yesterday when I was walking back to my car. The parking was on the brink of closing and she was counting the remaining car spaces. She looked up from her walkie talkie and said, “This isn’t exactly the transcendental experience they promised when I took on the job.” I smiled and as I made my way back to my car, thinking how fortunate I was. The parking lot was now still and quiet of the sound of engines. Only the buzz of summer cicadas and birds chirping kept company with me as I changed for my drive home.
An addendum from last week’s post….a couple of days ago I wandered past Henry contemplating this…
on my way back from the pond on the same day he was holding … yes… another cell phone … and wearing a base ball cap! I wasn’t fast enough to snap a pic … or to see which team he supports 😉