Swimming in Walden Pond

A new tradition: swim in Walden Pond on June 21st each year. Well, so I’ve done it twice now. Not exactly what I would call a tradition. But could be the start. Why not? And so, another go at it a couple days ago. I love Walden Pond. The association with Henry David Thoreau, an author I read in college. In a class I loved because of what we read but also because of the professor, a man who loved to read, who loved words, who loved literature. There was something about Thoreau and his adventure that really clicked for me. It wasn’t about living in nature, but it was about being aware of it. But I see this annual pilgrimage as a way to pay homage to Thoreau, as an annual baptism by/in nature. (Not that I only go there once a year; Walden Pond is half an hour—by car, though I go by bike as well—away from where I live.)

And speaking of awareness, I was out and about on the summer solstice, June 21st, first day of summer. The Walden Pond swim is part of a larger celebration. I want to be outside as much as possible on the longest day of the year and I particularly want to be out early and then late. The early-morning light and the evening into sunset light—the gloaming—are the best times to be outside. Was out early. With my dog, Frankie.  And I said to people, “happy longest day of the year” or “happy solstice” and you know, most people didn’t know what I was talking about. I’m surprised at how disconnected most people are from the natural rhythms of our world.

Maybe I need to start a club: Ways to Enjoy the Longest Day of the Year. Hmmm.

(Photo taken by Annette Lemieux, using her BlackBerry smartphone. Look closely and you’ll see me there in the center of the photo.)

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2 responses to “Swimming in Walden Pond

  1. What a terrific custom! Thanks for sharing this inspiring idea.

  2. Erik Hansen

    Thanks, Jim. The water’s warm, clean, and clear.