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An Open Letter to the Swan in Walton Pond: A reflection on nature and friendship.

Let me begin by asking, how are you?

I see you on my daily walks around campus, swimming around in the pond with barely a care, and I wonder if you know what the state of the world’s been like.

Can you tell when students come to sit on the wall or the bench with a head and heart a little heavier? I know for me, seeing you float on the calm water makes me feel a bit better, even if it’s just for a moment.

Swans get a bad reputation for being mean birds, but from my experience, you seem pretty polite, letting me take your picture against the beautiful backdrop of the changing leaves and the stone architecture of Walton Hall without complaint. Maybe you do know that many students are struggling through the semester and are more willing to let us admire you. Whether or not that’s the case, thank you for not trying to scare us away.

I noticed that you’re the only swan on campus, and it occurred to me that you must get lonely sometimes. You haven’t left yet, so it must not be too much of a bother, but I can’t help but think it interesting that a lone swan chose Walton Pond to be its
home. The history behind the pond is one of love, the story being that Mr. Walton had the pond built as a swimming pool for his wife, and it’s supposedly shaped like an anatomical heart to represent his love for her. If that story is actually true, your home has a pretty unique history.

Your pond is also nice and quiet. You have it pretty much all to yourself. The geese seem like they’re leaving it alone, and I hope for your sake that they do. You don’t seem like one for noise and crowds, and I rarely ever see a lone goose wandering around campus. Though there’s nothing wrong with being introverted and preferring quiet, calm spaces, there’s a part of me that hopes that one day you’ll find a friend to swim around the pond with. Life can get awfully lonesome when you keep to yourself all the time.

Until then though, I hope you’ll continue to let me sit and watch you on nice days when I’m feeling a little down or overwhelmed and that you’ll remind me to take time for myself and to relax. I promise I’ll try my hardest to follow through.

Sincerely,
an Eastern Student

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