“Let’s meet at Walden at one,” Amanda had said. Oh, how nice… It wasn’t the first sunny day we have had, or even the hottest, it wasn’t even the first nice-ish Sunday. But it might have been the first hot sunny Sunday that wasn’t also a holiday weekend. Whatever message was in the air, we all got it. And there was no getting to Walden at 1.
The sign originally said “re-open at 1:30.” What really closes first is the painfully small parking lot. For a while, they will look the other way at pedestrians and bikers who step over the non-barrier barrier fence. But even after a time, the crowd is just to big to manage safely, and they will cap it at 1000 at a time as best they can.
You heard me.
When you picture Walden, leave off Thoreau’s Walden – far from town, and all to one’s self. Today it sits off our smallest east/west “artery,” which you could hear from the shore if it weren’t for the screaming children.
And this is how our day turned into a quest for more pond.
I had to drive well past the entrance just to turn around (forcing me to wonder, as I often do when making this turn-around at a closed Walden, at least once a summer, “why don’t I ever tour the Gropius House?” But I had people waiting for me in the prison rotary, so I pressed on. We reconvened at the bakery – Amanda, Mark, and I. They had already eaten, but since we didn’t know where our next meal might take place, I had a sammich and we sat by the creek and waited for the 1:30 re-opening, even though we had already seen the line of cars waiting to be let in, and no sign of people leaving the pond.
Back to the road we go. But I’ve already spoiled the 2nd act by showing you that the pond is now closed until 4. Mark cuts a U-turn right in front of the kid in khaki, who is some kind of state grounds keeper, but not a Ranger, so… screw ‘im. I try the same move, and he steps in front of me, “Actually…?” he asks, like a teenaged girl, “You can’t really make a U-Turn here. People have had accidents and stuff.”
Son….? They gave you a little hat and a whistle. Why don’t you exercise your ersatz authority by directing this here traffic on a 2 lane farm road, where bare foot kids are tripping over towels from one side toi another, and you have left NO turn-off except for me to drive the GROPIUS House – this is a racket you’re running with them, isn’t?
Know why I said instead? “Ok… like… put up a sign.” burn.
MCI Concord’s parking lot turns out to be a very convenient place to meet people. We reconvened and through out ideas. I volunteered that I have a pool at my condo, but it is in Clinton, (as if we are not about to drive halfway there to the Hopkinton State Park).
Listen, it may not be a 100 ft deep kettle hole, but it was warm and clean, and the crowds were spread much farther out. We stood in water up to our necks and gabbed for an hour like we were on a patio drinking beer. mmm. beeeeer…..
The ice cream truck played the Battle Hymn of the Republic. In little tinkly bells that melded into America the Beautiful, and I did feel it was my Gawd Givin Right to have me a Richie’s Italian ice. If this were a “Why Mass is Pissah” blog, this paragraph would just be about Richies, but instead it is about the wonder that where I come from, the ice cream truck would never play this song.
A soak, a dig in the sand, and Italian ice, an argument about were we’re gonna eat afta’ – the Sunday you wait for and can never really plan, but you can find if you just try hard enough.
Hope your summer is progressing the same.