On hot summer days, I get almost as much satisfaction watching Reggie wade at Goose Pond as I get illicitly swimming there myself.
This summer I haven’t been walking Reggie as much at Goose Pond as I normally do, and I myself haven’t been swimming there at all. In June, I spent too much time away from Keene–first in Provincetown, next in Spartanburg, and then in Atlanta–to spend much time cooling my heels, and in July I was too busy teaching summer school and being geographically bipolar. On Tuesday, Reggie and I went walking at Goose Pond for the first time in nearly a month, and it felt a bit like coming home to a place you’d almost, sadly, forgotten about.
Every time I go to Goose Pond in the summertime, I find it incredibly calming to watch the dog go wading. Even if I don’t get my feet wet, it is soothing to imagine the kiss of water on hot skin underneath a thick, perpetually shedding fur coat. After wading, Reggie comes home to leave dark, doggy-shaped wet spots on the hardwood floor: the smudge-print of a happy, chilled out dog. Although doggy wet-spots don’t make for Good Housekeeping, it makes me feel good to imagine Reggie sleeping off a long hike, lots of deep-woods sniffing, and the blissful sensation of cool water. What’s good for the dog, I like to think, is good for my dog-loving soul.
On Tuesday, I forgot to wear a swimsuit under my clothes, and Goose Pond is too popular with dog-walkers, hikers, and other swimmers for me to consider skinny-dipping. So taking a cue from Reggie, all I did on Tuesday was go wading, rolling the bottoms on my capri pants so I could walk up to my knees in cool, clear water that sparkled with reflections of the midday sun.
On a week when Leslee was disappointed to find Walden Pond closed to swimmers because of elevated bacteria levels, Goose Pond was quiet and pristine, the only ripples emanating from my quiet shore being the ones stirred by my own toes.