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Walden Pond – Concord MA

DSC_0533Sunday evening Katherine and I chilled for a while after our adventures earlier that day and said hello to my brother and his girlfriend before eating what was left of our deep fried s’mores and attempting an early bedtime so we could get up and head into Boston, a little more than three hours away, in the morning.

DSC_0578I can’t say my history with Boston has been the best… I mean it’s a tough city, big, full of rude people and aggressive drivers, statistically the worst in the country, but maybe it’s not their fault. As my brother said, “Those roads aren’t meant for cars.” He’s right. Boston is filled with impossibly narrow roads and streets, many of which sport one sharp curve after another, and none of which make any logical sense. To add insult to injury half the roads are underground where the GPS no longer works and when you finally get where you’re DSC_0536going there’s no parking anywhere. And if that’s not bad enough the drivers… wow. They’re called Mass-Holes by the rest of New England. They’re real peaches. I felt like I was playing Russian Roulette at every intersection. But here too is proof of my personal growth in the past year. I only started driving myself to unfamiliar places less than a year ago and Boston was on my “uh-ah, not going to do it” list. But this time around I barely took notice, volunteered to head into the bowels of Hell without a second thought, I think shocking my brother and everyone whom I told. I used to spend my life constantly engulfed by panic and anxiety. These days I wake up and have to check my pulse because I wonder if my heart is still beating when I can’t feel it slam against my chest walls. It’s really odd but so peaceful and wonderful. Even babies don’t thwart me anymore. They used to make me super nervous but just recently I realized they’re not really made of glass. Now instead of being like, “Shit don’t get that thing near me, I may break it.” I actually find them kinda cute. Except infants. They’ll always look like raisins to me.

DSC_0562Back to the story… Katherine asked if we could take an adventure on the way and I said sure, why not. She chose Walden Pond because she wanted to see where Thoreau wrote Fuck People, I’m Going to Go Live in the Woods for Two Years Walden. She’s a fellow writer friend and loved the book. I’m well read and love the woods but oddly never picked this one up. Nonetheless I do love literary history, especially as it pertains to New England, and this detour was only 20-30 minutes away from our original destination.

Neither one of us really knew what to expect but I think both of us figured we’d find a Unabomber-like shack in the middle of bear country. This really wasn’t the case. The park was very busy, filled with people, with all sorts of weird “Byzantine parking” as DSC_0563Katherine put it. It was $15 admission and seemed to be… A swimming hole for Bostoners. There were paths around the lake, none marked very well but it didn’t much matter as there were roads and civilization everywhere. No one was going to die out here. A replica of Thoreau’s cabin stood near the visitor center where there was both information and oddly, a gift shop. We discussed how morally strange it was to have a gift shop honoring a man who was all about simplifying one’s life and cutting out materialism… Though this spirit did seem present when we found the sight of his original cabin. Here was a large pile of rocks (just like the rest of New England…) where people had made some sort of weird piled rock memorial to the man. Some used Sharpies to doodle messages and pictures on the stones they left behind.

DSC_0585It seems as if almost the entirety of the lake had been made into one big sandy beach. The one at the front had the shallow bits cordoned off like keeping a mass of people in a big fish net! Further out there was more nature-friendly bits, kayakers seemed to be enjoying the day on the water, and other people had found more isolated spots to swim. Katherine and I were not dressed for this, having no idea there might be swimming involved, but we decided it was a nice hot day and the water did seem rather nice. I pulled off my trusty Chuck Taylors and knee high nerd socks, rolled up my pants, and waded in. Katherine followed suit. OH! The water was so shallow it was warm and clear as the day is bright. Fish immediately came to my shockingly white calves and tried to nibble on them. These fish were weird though…. as they appeared to be a school of African Cichlids. Perhaps this lake was the “farm up North” fish disappear to when they’re no longer wanted. All I knew is these things did not look natural with their bulky silver bodies and fluorescent blue tails.

DSC_0551We stayed in the lake enjoying the day for quite a while, neither one of us really wanting to leave. We had found the site of the original cabin and stared at it’s sad foundation earlier on and now we were watching people stare up at the sky to witness today’s solar eclipse. A little girl near by reminded us about this and although it was slightly darker than usual neither one of us really noticed what was going on behind a large swath of fluffy clouds. Ah well, no eclipse for us, we wandered back to the car and continued on to Malden where a friend was waiting for us.

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