Return to Walden

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

~ Mary Oliver

On Tuesday, I returned to Walden Pond. After many months apart, my dear friend and I were reunited. I had anticipated this moment. In fact, the thought of swimming in the water of Walden had kept me going during long nights of dissertation revision work.


Perhaps, I had built it up too much. Or maybe it was because I was rushed during the visit. I did not feel glorious.

It was cold. 61 degrees. Clear and sunny skies, though, and I did warm up on the walk around to my favorite swimming spot.


I had to walk swiftly. I had to be in Nashua for a songwriting session in the early afternoon, and I did not want to be late. So the visit was rushed. I did not have the time to explain my absence to familiar rock, tree, and ripple.

All was accounted for, it seemed, apart from a broken trunk of a tree and the absence of the cairn on the shore.


Was it strange that everything was still there?

Did no one or no thing miss me during those many months we were separated by freezing water and falling snow?

Did I sense my own mortality with the realization that the earth, its systems and inhabitants, have been and will continue to carry on regardless of my presence?


It still felt wonderful to step into the water, free from chlorine. I felt strong moving my arms and legs in tandem, propelling my body through an element within which I am but a visitor.

I still felt thankful to be reacquainted with familiar faces, to greet my friends:

Hello parking lot.


Hello bench.


Hello favorite tree.


Hello small creature friend.


Hello rocks.


Hello water.


Glorious water!

I am thankful to be present and very much alive.

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