All good things...Part II
19 April, 2002 :: 6:05 a.m.
The next day was THE day...Walden Pond.
We spent about three hours or so there and it was amazing beyond words. I can't really explain why the place is so special except maybe because we'd been reading Thoreau's descriptions of this place when he lived there and, for all the changes that have taken place since his time, you could still feel his presence and see some of what he saw.
The first thing was a replica of the cabin he lived in--I knew it was small, he says so in his writings, but damn! Tiny, tiny, tiny. (Simplify, simplify, simplify.) I was the first one to head across the road and down to the pond. The biggest pond I had ever seen. Why it isn't a lake, I don't know, it's huge for a pond [editor's note: rereading this, I don't remember the pond being quite so huge, but I have yet to get back there and this was still fresh in my mind then, so who knows...]. I took a few pictures and then Lloyd and Jordan came down. Lloyd was trying to take pictures of the ducks swimming on the pond, but as soon as he got close and knelt down, the ducks came running out of the water up to him to see what he had. Then Amy came down and tried to take pictures of the ducks and when she knelt down they all turned and ran back into the water...it was hillarious.
Several of us went wading into the pond. I had been contemplating it, but was unsure. Erin and Maria went in though and Joe took one shoe off and dipped his foot in and I decided what the hell...who knows when I'll be able to get back up there. Off with my shoes and socks and into the water. I don't know how to describe it. It was almost like a baptism where you could really feel the energy. I was baptized when I was a baby and I don't really recall feeling God's energy flow into me...but this...you could just feel it...you were connecting with nature in some incredibly intimate way, wading in the same pond Thoreau had used for a water source and bathed in and fished in. And it was cold! It's spring-fed and it was like 50 degrees. But I could have easily dove in and submerged my whole body if I'd had a change of clothes with me. Just one of those experiences I'll never forget.
I couldn't put my shoes back on because my feet were wet and covered in sand, but the group started walking around the pond, so I headed off with them barefoot. Okay for the most part, but there are points where there isn't anything to walk on but rocks. I don't know how you can run across rocks so easily when you are a kid, but when you're my age, you feel every single rock stabbing up into your foot. But it was still great.
We visited the site of Thoreau's cabin and I did a Spidey pose on one of the stone pillars that marks off the spot where his cabin stood. Dr. K. was telling short little stories about previous visits and his favorite parts of Thoreau's book. There is a pile of rocks that people have brought with them to leave next to the spot of his cabin. I took a small little rock, but some people have hauled huge ass rocks back there. I would have really liked to have a bigger rock and written something for Andrew on it, but I wasn't expecting to see a huge rock pile--I thought it was going to be a small mound of pebbles.
Then we finished our walk around the pond and it was great. I kind of walked at a slow pace...partly to take everything in, partly because I was barefoot. But this gave me a chance to have small conversations with most of the group. I walked and talked mostly with Lloyd, Amy and Jordan...but also a little with Maria, a little with Erin, a little with Joe and Melissa, some with Dr. K.--it was nice to just walk and make small conversations and realize that most of these people--even the ones who sometimes annoy me in class--are actually really nice people who are worth knowing--in small doses.
The best thing about the walk was coming across other visitors and seeing the different reasons people go to Walden--some were fishing, some kayaking, there were two parents with their two children who were playing with a small plastic boat on a string, two Indian women walking and talking...just lots of different people there for all sorts of reasons.
Then I went wading one more time before we left...
Joe bought anyone in the group who wanted it ice cream from a Good Humor ice cream truck. The guy was crazy and spoke with an Eastern European accent and couldn't find most of the things people asked for...I finally just told him anything on a stick. But it was fun and it was the perfect way to end our stay at Walden.
We then went into Cambridge and toured a couple of places. Went to the cemetary and found Thoreau's, Emerson's, Alcott's and Hawthorne's graves. I had a brief conversation with Henry at his grave while Lloyd, Amy and Jordan (I just realized their initials are JLA! how cool is that?) were visiting Emerson. Amy hates walking over top of graves or watching other people do it. One of those small little things that I wouldn't have known if I hadn't gone on the trip. That night we went into downtown Boston and it wasn't quite as exciting because we started in the wrong area (one that closes down around 8 p.m.--the time we were getting there), but it was still a very nice walk and I did, as predicted, fall in love with the city, the subway (I had a cute English chick sit next to me on the one train and had a German guy pressed against me on another) and the people. So many interesting looking people that it would have been fantastic to stop and have a conversation about their city with.
Sunday was New Bedford and a whaling museum. I'm not big on whaling, but since we read Moby Dick it was fitting and interesting. Jordan, Lloyd and Amy saw a pair of wooden shorts for sale for several thousand dollars!? while I walked ahead with Morgan, Sarah, Sarah (yes there were two of them) and...hmmm, someone else. Then we were back in the van and on our way home. No one wanted to leave, but it's probably best we left when we did. It was just the right amount of time. We were always doing something different in a place none of us were all that familiar with and so we were a fairly tight-knit group. There wasn't time for tempers to flare because we were all taking in the scenery. Too much longer and people may have started arguing and getting pissy. So Dr. K. was probably right...it was time to end our trip. But for those three days I was part of something special that I would have missed out on otherwise. I may or may not form lasting friendships with any of the group, but at least we have those three days together. For that time we were a family taking everything in and sharing some special moments. It was an incredible feeling to actually FEEL like I was part of something instead of watching from the outside or missing out entirely.
Thoreau said it best:
"I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lves to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves."
In short, there is a time for everything and you have to know when that time is over, when it's time to move on and have new experiences. So the trip, despite a few rough patches at the beginning, was perfect. At least to me. But it is a shame that all good things must come to an end.
The trip home took almost 11 hours. Whoo!