Sunday afternoon as my Loved One napped, I took a delicious post-snowstorm walk around Fresh Pond. (Loved One’s long term care facility sits on the Fresh Pond Reservation, 162 acres of open space and nature trails protecting the 155 acre, fenced-in, Fresh Pond Reservoir, the City of Cambridge’s water supply.)
Until Sunday, my relationship with Fresh Pond had been mixed: Yes, I’d always relished joining the parade of dog walkers and bicyclists and strolling couples and joggers circling the pond. (It’s about a 2 mile walk). In fact, walking around Fresh Pond on New Year’s Day has become a hallowed tradition in my life, a contemplative (and usually freezing) way to begin a new year. Yet, inevitably, as a Somerville resident, I have also resented that in order to enjoy this urban treasure, I have to drive to Cambridge! Where, as a non-resident. I might easily get a parking ticket.
No more. My car now neatly parked in Loved One’s facility’s parking lot, Fresh Pond is mine!
So, on Sunday, instead of muttering “Why can’t Somerville have acres and acres of unobstructed space—maybe beside the Mystic River? Nature trails and woods and community gardens as far as the eye can see? Huh? Huh?”* or stressing about a possible parking ticket, I was able to appreciate where I actually was. To be present. To grok.**
So, of course, walking past Cambridge’s water supply, I thought of Flint, Michigan. And how black lives didn’t matter when it came to making viable, decent decisions regarding that struggling city’s water supply. How inexpressively outrageous! And how, more and more, we’re seeing water as A Thing. A commodity as precious as oil. (and, like oil, a liquid to spill blood over.)
So as I walked listening to the pond’s gentle lap lap with newfound gratitude, I was also sobered by a water-scarce future suddenly more clear and more fraught than it’s ever been.
“Is Clean Water The New Oil? “What am I called to do?
*So many things to love about my community but its long-term commitment to open space is not one of one.
** A verb meaning to really, really get it and used in that 60s classic, Stranger in a Strange Land—in which for the protagonist, a human raised on Mars, “sharing water” was a Huge Deal.