I went into the woods today with my best friend, Marcella de la Luna, because I wished to live deliberately and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.
I could have never predicted that my pilgrimage to my beloved Walden Pond would include a monster hurricane, 4 bottles of champagne, missed airplane connections, dozens of costume changes, and letting go of plans so that I could experience the life that was waiting for me.
Marcella and I officially became cosmic twins after we knocked foreheads at a fairy Christmas party while we were both dressed in long red Ball gowns. When she invited me to the East Coast for my birthday, I cleared my schedule. Day after day, she delighted me with new updates for our week-long extravaganza. She bought tickets to see our dear old friend Dita Von Teese perform in NYC, booked 5-star hotel room suites, an exclusive tour of the best cupcakes in NYC and a day excursion to her alma mater, Harvard (yes, she is also wicked SMART).
A month before our celebratory trip, I began packing my suitcase full of costumes (yes, I own more corsets than khakis). I was shaking in my flip-flops when she told me she was going to take me to Walden Pond. My reverence for Thoreau and Walden are notorious: reading his book at 18 served as my inspiration to move to the Caribbean, live in a treehouse (which I built) for a year and where I was rescued by dolphins. I have 4 copies of Walden in which nearly every sentence is underlined.
To say we were both thrilled is an understatement. Marcella (being my cosmic twin) carried Walden in her teeny backpack throughout Europe when she was 18. She made the difficult choice of dumping out an entire bottle of Chanel number 5 in order to fit one little black dress and a copy of Walden. We have given ourselves the moniker “glamola” (glamour + granola = glamola) since we both love sleeping under the stars equally to sleeping at the 4 Seasons Hotel. We decided to perform a dance prayer in honor of Thoreau at the pond and procured a famous artist to film our future masterpiece.
Then destiny came a-knocking.
A week before my departure date, weather.com began announcing a superstorm they named “Frankenstorm” that every news source was forecasting to be worse than the “Perfect Storm” of 1991 (sans George Clooney). Marcella promised we would go to Walden Pond, “Come Hell or High Water.” And high water is what everyone was predicting.
Ms. De La Luna lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and was not easily shaken. I had a Goddess Workshop to teach and I was determined to NOT let go of all of our glamola plans. Nearly every flight to the East Coast was cancelled; I was waiting with dozens of others on standby and the airline gate agents didn’t seem to appreciate my charms. I persisted and caught the very last flight to the East Coast. Barely.
My girlfriend is as tasty as a cream puff, but don’t you dare call her one. She has endured more disasters than Calamity Jane and NOTHING will stop her once her decision is made.
But Frankenstorm was as catastrophic as predicted.
We don’t see each other very often and it wasn’t easy let go of all our plans, but there were so many people suffering from the storm it quickly put things into perspective.
Besides, together, we could have fun in a box. We put on retro bathing suits and ran wild on the beach with the waves crashing around us. We were awestruck by the wind that nearly knocked us over at the lighthouse. When the lights went out, we lit candles and a fire in the fireplace and danced for each other. IT was better than Dita. OK, maybe not BETTER, but still utterly divine.
I’ll have sweet dreams for weeks after those dances!
Once I let go of our plans to visit Walden and simply enjoyed our precious time together, the storm passed and the opportunity to visit the Pond presented itself on a platinum-burlap platter. I was elated. And nervous. By the time we arrived at the pond, I was unable to utter a comprehensible sentence. It was surreal to be at the place I had read about and imagined for so many years, the place that informed so much of who I am.
What happened next was the last thing I could have expected.
After we visited the replica of the house Thoreau built and lived for 2 years, we took a walk around the pond. It was beautiful of course. But what I didn’t expect was to have a transcendental experience of my own. The sun on the Pond was more stunning than Dita von Teese’s corsets; Louboutin could never design a shoe more dazzling than the berries on the branches; and the pinecones smelled more sacred to me than incense in a church. It was my own direct connection to the divine, to Walden Pond. It was exactly what the Transcendentalists had spoken of so many years before: finding connection with the divine through nature and one’s self.
I was awestruck when we arrived at the actual site of his house. People from all over the world had placed stones with adoring inscriptions at the site in homage to the man who’s writing had so deeply affected their lives. It touched me to know so many others feel as I do about Thoreau, and that his spirit lives on in his writing, which is as relevant today as it was two hundred years ago.
I sat in the middle of his former abode and had a moment to give thanks to Thoreau, to Walden Pond, to my best friend and most of all: for the experience of living deliberately and knowing that I have LIVED.