This is what I remember.
It was a day where the world wore red and blue. Sky and worn out autumn leaves turned from green to orange to yellow before finally settling red.
Even the water couldn’t make up her mind, reflecting the richness of heaven’s blue and earth’s russet red leaves deep inside her.
It was a day where friends gathered on the beach to celebrate the unusual warmth in the November air. Air which was soon to be replaced by a bleak grey morning following the sun’s downing and rising again.
It was a day when the pond was so still that I hardly dared to make a mark in her as I clumsily glided through her cold caverns. As I watched to my right the light dance on golden sand and to my left streak in thin dark lines racing back and forth across the water surface – constant motion going nowhere.
What I remember is cold. My back, despite the windless day and the warmth of the sun. So as I swim further and further into the middle of the pond I am engulfed by it.
What I remember is the lack of rhythm in me. Is this how it will end? I ask myself. This last swim. An anticlimax after all the strength I have poured into this water, gliding and sliding through Walden these past months. No great epiphany to hold me through the raw sleet of winter? I go on, not ready to give up on it yet.
I remember cold. My hands. My head. It starts to ache. It is surely over for me now. Brain freeze. I pray it is transitory and will lift when I lift my head out of the cold. I lift my head now.
This is what I see. A fringe of deep rich red, the reflection of the last of the autumnal trees curling around the shoreline. I am watching it unfurl as I edge closer and closer. Cold. So far from shore. The beach house blazing white in light beckoning me home. I know I can make it home.
I trust I can make it home.