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  • April 15, 2012

    Blackwater Pond isn’t actually black.

    Well, maybe it is on a different day, but today it isn’t. I brush some leaves off a log and sit down, latte in hand. After spontaneously leaving Boston to drive to Provincetown, it took at least 20 minutes to get to this pond, walking along a meandering trail lined with soggy leaves, accompanied by an ever present insect that would not leave me alone or quit its frantic buzzing. I passed a few other hikers on the way, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one with my earphones in, music turned up, sipping on a pricey coffee shop drink. Ah, nature. So much better with modern conveniences.

    This morning I had completed the inaugural 5K run hosted by the Boston Athletics Association. That’s right, the very organization that puts on the marathon that ends all other marathons. There I was, jogging down the final stretch (let’s face it, I wasn’t exactly “running” at this point), trying not to pass out, and imagining myself throwing a baby grand piano at every person that passes me. I’m doing okay, I think, because I’m nowhere near the back. Um, you’re nowhere near the front either, I retort, and you had promised yourself you would do better, that you would train for this race because this means something to you, and you also sai—

    “Come on, Kathy, you can do it!”

    What?

    Whoa. Someone came out to see me? Impossible. But, maybe…I did mention it a few times…

    Somewhere in my mess of a head there was a moment—just a nugget of a moment—when I felt connected to all the runners around me, like I was part of something bigger than myself. I know it was there, but now it seems like a reverie. I saw the throngs of people lined up on the side, banners in hand, screaming in support of their loved ones. And all I had was my name on my racing bib and (very nice) spectators who were kind enough to encourage me over the finish line.

    I sigh and look out at the water again. The water is so still, like nothing else was alive in there. Skipping stones seem way too cliché (and hard). I take a rock and lob it towards the water. Mercifully, it lands in the pond. Nope, still not black.

    In high school, my drumline once had a gig at a neighboring school. I was walking out onto the track with my bass drum strapped to my chest when I heard a familiar voice behind me yelling, "Go drumline!" Sure enough, my section leader's best friend, Mark, was standing next to his truck waving a little flag with our school logo on it. Mark had given my section leader a ride to the gig and was sticking around, I guess, just to stick around.

    A bird squawks as it flies by overhead, just loud enough to cause me to jerk a little. The little bastard. I’m thinking here. Why am I thinking here, at this pond, exactly? I think I just want someone—something—to listen to my thoughts without judgment, unlike the way I treat myself. I need a quiet place to reflect on how much it bothers me that I didn’t have a Mark at my race this morning. Quiet. Except for my music. And quiet. Except for my thoughts, which came pouring out onto my log, around the stones blocking its path, down the leafy bank, and into the fiery beauty that was the water. And on it went until no more thoughts came and the pond was as black as black could be.

    I get up to leave. My latte is done. The songs have ended. The wind is getting to me and the cold is putting my bones to sleep.

    Blackwater Pond isn’t black. It doesn’t need to be, it just is. Or something.
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