At Walden Pond

Much of last week was spent at Mass General Hospital either waiting with families for surgical results to client’s doctor appointments to getting medical records.  It seemed to be all things MGH.  It was a very stressful week having to deal with residents who gave misinformation and fighting too early discharges.

I was tired and worn out.  This morning, I said to myself, I needed to get outside.  I needed to go see my friend, Walden Pond.  I don’t know what it is about Walden Pond, but when I get there whether it is to swim or walk, I feel like I am visiting my old friend.  The minute I turn into the parking lot, I start to feel the stress leave my body.  I put my purse in the trunk of the car and start my journey.

Today, I had felt a special longing to see the water.  I  miss it not being able to swim.  It is as if, all the cells in my body and senses are calling for the  nourishment.  As I crossed the street to begin the walk down the hill, I caught a glimpse of the water.  I was once again mesmerized and joyful at the sight.  All I could do is smile.

There was a fog covering most of the pond reminding me of the many early morning swims, when I couldn’t see anything in front of me, and had to keep close to the shore.  It was so exciting.  The first thing I did was go up to water and put my hand in. My ritual even in the summer.  It was cold but  so wonderful to feel.  I started my walk around the pond.

From swimming, I know much of the shore line.  When I walk, I recognize the rocks, low hanging trees and the several sandy beaches.  I think of the times I would get to a certain point and marvel that I had made it, rest, and continue on.  Every swim at Walden Pond made me feel I had succeeded at overcoming fear, anxiety and stress. I could do it.

As I walked today, I heard what I thought was a lapping of the waters against the shore, like at the beach.  It seemed out of place and I searched the shore line.  Low and behold, with the outside temperature at 40 and the water probably 40 degrees or lower, was a swimmer clad in a wetsuit on the body, hands, feet and head.  He was doing the backstroke.  I wanted to call out to him and let him know it was amazing  to see  someone swimming in the cold.  I didn’t  disturb him, though, because I remembered how meditative each swim was for me.  As one of my swimming buddies said, that is hardcore!

I continued my walk around my beloved Walden Pond.  At times I felt absolutely giddy at being there.  I felt like my cat must feel when given catnip.  I imagined myself falling to the ground and rolling around.  Of course, I didn’t because, well, it was wet and my rational mind recognized I would get cold.  I felt so grateful that the environment had been maintained and cared for.

I love Walden not just for the swimming but for the people I meet.  I always find someone to talk to who is enjoying themselves as much as I am.  Today, I met two brave cyclists who had hoped it would be warmer and ridden from Cambridge about 35 miles.  It  seems to me that Walden Pond facilitates wonderful conversations.  They always start out how beautiful it is and evolve from there.

As I walked back to my car, I realized I hadn’t thought about the past week or clients.  I had walked and walked and felt the endorphins running through my body.  I felt the stress of the week release and I could face the next week with enthusiasm.  It was a reminder of the importance of letting go of my stress.  As much as I would like to think, I can’t solve every problem.  Thank you my friend, Walden Pond, for giving another uplifting and successful moment.