Dreams are powerful tools that can help guide anyone to success and happiness. They represent some cherished aspiration, an ultimate ideal of achievement.

The word sylvan refers most directly to a setting associated with the woods. Reflecting on the vigorous life that abounds in sylvan settings is a very powerful force in my life. For me, this word evokes feelings of transcendence, clarity, and unity.

A Sylvan Dream is a dynamic compilation of my life dream. It is an attempt to seek out and document the truth, beauty, and clarity that exists in this world.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Returning Home - Part One, The Bald Hills

In separation, the heart grows fonder...I am learning this statement should not be taken too lightly. For me, it has taken moving away from home, the place that created me, to truly learn its value. Even now as I sit here on the steps of my driveway writing this on my laptop, toads and frogs sing a song I have listened to for many years.  Their song taught my ears how to hear the song of each season, sometimes dainty yet as permeating as the spring peepers, while other times hushed as the winter wind under a frozen clear blue sky. Returning after only a couple years, I now hear the song of this land a little more clearly; an echo shouted across a valley of time, finally returning to my ears.
As much as I fool myself into thinking my home is on my back, my home is much more stationary. I grew up within a land of folded hills that we natives loyally refer to as the mountains. The Appalachian Mountains are very old. They have withered away to only mere remnants of their titanic effigies. Along their far northern extent where I live, they are now measured more accurately in the hundreds of feet.

I grew up looking across the road at a small farm, which nature was slowly taking back. Like most farms during my childhood, at its edge were woods, and this is where the mountain began its rise. This is where my father took me after we dressed in dark camo and painted our faces. This is where I looked as I hung my head out my window during windy summer nights when a full moon illuminated the whispering forest, quieting everything else. This is where I went when I was lost in my life, and when I wanted to be lost from everything else. This is where I went when I needed to be quiet, and when I needed the world to be quiet around me. This is where I learned that there is much more to this world than we are led to believe.  This is my home, the Bald Hills.

It wasn’t until high school that I actually learned the most recent name of my home, which referred to the hills directly above my house. Until then my home was simply the name of a street, a town, a state…The Bald Hills were known to harbor bandits and criminals; the way most backwoods areas seem to be characterized. I suppose those people were here for many good reasons, reasons as simple as the name of this place.
The Bald Hills were named so for being just that – bald. Pennsylvania was named for its woods, so of course we cut them all down. With the exception of a few very hard to reach pockets of geographically endowed forest, Penn’s Woods’ arboreal blanket was swiped away in a matter of a few decades. Just like the heat rushes from warm skin when blankets are swiped in the middle of the night, life vanished from the soil once covering these hills. Ironically, the rejuvenating rains that came with the warmth of spring listlessly washed away much of the naked soil. What a chilling reminder it must have been to all of the so-called bandits and criminals seeking refuge in these emaciated hills during long winters back then when wood was still the primary fuel for heating a house. I now wonder if it wasn’t mainly wood that these people were known for pathetically pilfering...

In high school, this name amused me. Picturing what a bleak landscape my home must have been back then only accentuated the ruggedness I projected on those who lived here. Feeling little connection to most of my surroundings during this rebellious time of my life, I felt delight in projecting myself in similar light as the people to come before me.

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