From Massachusetts Highway 126, Walden Pond looks ordinary. It is a kettle hole pond about 100 feet deep and about 43 acres in area. The path that encircles it is very popular and somewhat worn and so a constant struggle for the park's department to keep it looking natural. Nevertheless, it is the only place to walk so I put my camera gear on my back and started to hike. 

Near Thoreaau's Cove I noticed the reflections of the orange colored fall trees in a small vernal pool. After a bit of roaming I returned to the pool and set up my tripod and camera as close to the edge of the pond as I could  and pointed it down at the water. I saw something like A Brilliant Stillness II and nearly lost it with excitement. As I moved around I continued to find more wonderful compositions.

And the leaves, although they reminded me of water lilies, I later found were known as water-shields. They had a beautiful green color often combined with violet.Those water-shields combined with the orange and yellow reflections from the opposite shore was heaven for a photographer such as me. I ignored a meeting I had scheduled (this was in the days before cell phones) and photographed until I ran out of film. I returned several more times that year and the reflections turned a deep violet and oak leaves started to scatter on the water.

I visited Wyman's Meadow for 11 years until I had enough photographs for my book, The Illuminated Walden, and never once in those 11 years did Wyman's Meadow look anything like it did that first year. Sometimes it overflowed; sometimes it nearly dried up. Some years there were photographs to be made, some quite wonderful (see 4062) and in other years there was nothing. However in winter, the ice produced some interesting compositions often with the remnants of fall embedded in the ice.

THE WATER-SHIELD (BRASENIA SCHEBERI) is native to the eastern half of the United States and to large parts of the west, mainly west of the Rockies, yet I had never encountered it until that  day in 1991.

A Brilliant Stillness I
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