An Afternoon at Walden Pond in Concord, MA

walden pond from the walking trail
Walden Pond as seen from the trail

My Favorite Place to Swim: Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts

Late in August, during yet another brutal heat wave, I took a half day at work and headed up for an afternoon of swimming and lounging at Walden Pond in Concord, MA.

illustrated art walk of Walden Pond featuring drawing of Henry David Thoreau fishing
Illustrated art walk of Walden Pond featuring a
drawing of Henry David Thoreau fishing

Henry David Thoreau and Walden Pond

Of course, Walden isn't just a beautiful swimming spot. It had historical and literary significance, due to Henry David Thoreau's "Walden, or Life in the Woods," a book on transcendental philosophy and simple living in nature. You can read it for free here.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

— Henry David Thoreau

Something tells me that in this illustrated art walk for children, they don't have pictures of Henry leaving the cabin to get a little tipple from the tavern in Concord center...Just my guess. :-D

People swimming at Walden Pond
People swimming at Walden Pond

Swim the Whole Pond at Walden

Walden is one of my favorite places to swim. You have to swim at your own risk, but the entire pond is open for swimming. And I love swimming, especially wide-open fresh water swimming. I have swum half away across and back the long way. I have swum all the way across and back the shorter distance across. Some day I will swim from one end to the other the long way!

Henry David Thoreau quote about seasons featured on  the walking trail around Walden Pond
Henry David Thoreau quote about seasons featured on
the walking trail around Walden Pond

 The Historical and Literary Significance of Thoreau and the Transcendentalists

While there are problematic aspects to any literary and historical artifact from American life, I still love the best of what we can learn from Thoreau and the Transcendentalists. The quote above, "As a child looks forward to the coming of summer, so could we contemplate with quiet joy the circle f the seasons returning without fail eternally*." I like that quote for today, the eve of the equinox, summer coming to a close.

*Until global warming ruins everything and it's just one terrible winter or something

Wild flowers at Walden Pond
Wild flowers at Walden Pond

Details for Walden Pond State Reservation

Admission is $8 for MA residents, $15 for out-of-state residents (bummer, man! that's me now). 

Enter 915 Walden St, Concord, MA 01742 in your GPS and not just Walden Pond because that will take you to a different thing (learned that the hard way!)

The park is open daily 7am to 6:30pm (exit gate closes at 7pm).