My Own Walden

December 14, 2007
By Averi Harper, Westbury, NY

In the novel Walden, Walden Pond represents the withdrawal from all civilities and obligations. It was a place where Thoreau retreats in order to achieve ultimate mental and spiritual clarity. There are few places in which I have been able to achieve my own type of nirvana. In my basement, I escape the stress of my daily life and enter a blissful paradise for my mind and soul.

My basement, with its auburn-colored walls and it wooden floor, offers a sound-proof solitude that cannot be attained anywhere else in my home. In a corner nook there are three bookshelves that are heavy with novels, textbooks (remnants of my parents college days), old magazines, and photo albums. Book titles like The Black Death, Clinical Cardiology, Economic Evolution, and Things Fall Apart intrigue me and the content of these books captivate me even further. On rainy days, I sit in front of it in my pajamas and eyeglasses and get cozy with anything that catches my eye. Other times, when chagrin or sorrow consumes me, I seclude myself in the basement and sit at the bar. While there, I write in one of my journals or stare at myself in the huge mirror that hangs behind the bar.

The room seems to do the same for the other members of my household. My father recedes to the basement into a little room he created for himself. He engineers music with his gadgets, machines, keyboard and microphones. My father and I spend hours down there together making music, playing games, and looking through photo albums. He tells me stories about his parents, my mother, and even tidbits about my childhood that I can’t remember. The basement is our haven in which the external world never matters.

The bottom floor of my home allows me to escape my hectic schedule, my younger brother, and the constant ringing of my cell phone. In it I write, I read and I think. My basement relinquishes me of all my responsibilities and grants me a perfect hermitage.

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