Somewhere between the layers of blue, perhaps only visible as a red cap bobbing in the waves, or a splash of arms rising and falling rhythmically, we come and go. Perhaps if the weather and schedule calls for it, we may even gather, wrapped in towels and dripping cold rivulets down white limbs, sunning shivery bodies and laughing how the weather has extended these last weeks of the season…how records have been broken… a date crossed and still a plunge taken in the low sixties temperature of the pond… how the degrees drop day by day, night by night…
Some struggle out of wetsuits, dragging their empty black limbs through soddy sand, some hardy enough to bear the cold still only in bathing suits. And many varieties of neoprene between: a diversity of age and experience. But all with a common love and purpose… the freedom of the open water, the magic of Walden.
For years a growing population of ‘Ponders’ have been hanging out and hanging on, obsessed by swimming in the cooling waters…As the fall colors deepen and the falling leaves drop they become more visible, or at least their bags do, slouching on the stone wall at the main beach.
Thanks to Jim Callahan, a couple of weeks ago, it wasn’t only the bags that were seen slouching on the stone wall. A group of us got together after a Sunday swim and celebrated the season with conversation, tea cake and cookies. Although Jim is still braving the waters in his bathers and neoprene cap (and bound to for a few more weeks yet!) gathering names and growing an increasing list of ‘regulars,’ as we also refer to ourselves, I know there are many more. Just a week after our gathering I met a woman at the wall. As we pulled on our neoprene we exchanged thoughts on the water temperature. We happened to meet again after our swim and she invited me to join her group which met on Sunday mornings ‘during the season’.
And to think that a month or two ago I was mourning the end of the season, wondering what I would do for company when the lifeguards left!
Now we are our own lifeguards…We know each other’s gear, and watch out for each other. If the wind is whipping up strife in the pond it is an adventure. We embrace the challenge and excitedly exchange notes on it when we arrive safely back on the beach.
We leave with a sense of satisfaction and inner peace, and best of all … the promise of tomorrow…
Just a note to end on ….
To the many many regular swimmers who I/we haven’t connected with, if you would like to be included in the next Salute to the Season Celebration, send a comment to this blog and I will see your contact details get to Jim!