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 14, 2008

Springtime at Home

Pennsylvania is exuberant in April. Walking around outside these days fills me with excitement and content simultaneously. Pennsylvania welcomes me with a warm and pleasantly humid embrace, and whispers the purest of songs into my ear, telling me to rest, for I am home.
Spring begins its song unhurriedly as winter becomes tired. I heard it this year in Boulder, with the junco’s first trill into the crisp early morning air. The flicker was not long behind the junco. The first one I heard this year stood atop a torn cottonwood along 28th st. in Boulder, spewing its staccato cry as I drove by after a good climbing session. I have come to dislike this call so much after encountering several vociferous individuals. Their loud call echoes over treetops and deafens those unlucky enough to find one tangled in their mist-net.
Driving back into Pennsylvania as the sun was setting, the folded hills, (or mountains as we call them here) began to glow in the waning light. Maple buds shown a scarlet red, and now today they have begun bursting forth with a bright lime green flower. Then a sweeping column of light caught my eye as a four-wheeler spun around the corner of a distant field and barreled down the steep hillside, reminding me I was coming home to a different side of spring as well.

As I pulled up to a past professor’s newly acquired land, the sound of spring enveloped my attention. I stepped out of my vehicle and slammed the door quickly to notify my host I was there, but also to regain silence as quickly as possible to hear the sounds surrounding me. Off in some pencil-necked red pines, a brown tree creeper swung his song around the trees as jubilantly as he circles them in a female’s presence. Then the frogs and toads fell on my ears. Such a beautiful and disarming sound I have yet to find anywhere else. For years I laid with my head hanging out my bedroom window at night until I fell asleep to the sounds of these peepers. The wood frogs had already come and gone, leaving heaps of milky-white eggs in the vernal pools endowed to this rich land, but I still think I heard a few croaking reclusively like an old floorboard in a smoky cabin. After only momentary rests, the peepers reclaim the spring air with a trill I will not even try to describe. I simply implore you to come to the Pennsylvania woods when the earth is waking up to hear such a welcoming sound.
It was the sound of the spring peepers in the pond down behind my house that brought dreams of the lightning bugs yet to come during my childhood. As post-mating pleasure deflated the peepers’ vigor, unable to sleep in such quietude I began to gaze into the warmer evenings with my windows open. After many nights blanketed in black with occasional silvery moonlight, I would finally see them. Arriving like heralded ghosts, I would squint into the night; never completely sure of my eyes for some time. The earliest intrepids would flicker their butts perhaps only once or twice every five minutes as they climbed the branches of my neighbors apple trees, but as they dropped from the treetops and lifted into flight I was made sure of their presence, as they flickered off into the fields around my house to find others. These early fireflies had a tough time, much tougher than those to arrive a few weeks later to a veritable orgy filling the field behind my house with such an ethereal dance the heavens must become jealous.

Sloshing through the marshy creeks braiding through the land, C.C. showed me around to the pools and ponds as we shared enjoyment of the season’s magnificence. We stopped from time to time, glassing the pond in attempts to identify a sheepish fox sparrow or swamp sparrow flitting around the grass and tree branches. Sparrows still seem hopeless to me, but C.C.’s interest in them reminded me that while my true interests will never lead me astray, my love for Natural History should remain broad and encompassing.
Twenty minutes down the road at Bucknell, similar songs welcomed me. I took a walk with another friend, laying on the ground from time to time to get a closer look at some of the first spring flowers that polka-dot the lesser-known wilder lawns of the University. It is so sweet to be home in the welcoming arms of my spring birthday in Pennsylvania, full of April vigor.

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