Finally, we are here. It took two days to cover the miles from home and a year’s worth of anticipatory energy was tapped in the first few hours. The kids have already built a fort, made wind chimes, played a hearty game of kickball and been to a campfire show of skits and silly songs.
The cliche about the journey and the destination applies too. On Saturday, we stopped at Walden Pond. Who knew it was so very amazing? From Thoreau,
It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and a mile and three quarters in circumference, and contains about sixty-one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods, without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and evaporation. The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to the height of forty to eighty feet, though on the southeast and east they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet respectively, within a quarter and a third of a mile. The are exclusively woodland. All our Concord waters have two colors at least; one when viewed at a distance, and another, more proper, close at hand. the first depends more on the light, and follows the sky. In clear weather, in summer they appear blue at a little distance, especially if agitated, and at a great distance all appear alike. In stormy weather they are sometimes of a dark slate color.
The water was sublime. Dana was the first to swim. She came strolling out after about 600 meters with a grin from ear to ear. She used superlatives like fabulous and wonderful. She looked like someone injected with a super-dose of uber-happy. She knew; the water was amazing.
I swam out into the pond twice. The first time about 500 meters and the second closer to 700-800 meters. There was an effervescent quality. As my hands entered there were crystalline bubbles bursting back toward my face and chest. I was reminded of the love Enzo and Jacques have for the water in Le Grand Bleu (1988). It was simply beautiful to experience.
It was easier to see below water — without goggles — due to the clarity than as I breathed and looked into the sunlit sky. The pond is ringed by magnificent pine and old growth oak. I swear the mineral content must be higher than most fresh water, because I felt lighter and more buoyant than a cork. In fact, I didn’t tire at all.
Throughout the afternoon, I saw dozens of cyclists and at least 15 people who had come to train in the pristine waters that once inspired Thoreau. Dana could not have been more right when she commented that if we had a place like this nearby, we’d never swim in a pool again.
Afterward, we all ate an ice cream and enjoyed the calm, the sunshine, the breeze and simply the beauty of that is a good afternoon well-enjoyed.