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, September 8, 2008


The sound of rain on the thatch roof was the second thing I noticed after slowly becoming aware it was time to take a step outside to relieve all the refresco I had drank at dinner the night before. I reached between the mosquito net and the bed, and felt numbly around for my alarm clock on the floor - 438am, two minutes before my alarm. I walked through the wet grass over to the edge of the forest, and turned off my head lamp to look up into the skies. Despite the light rain falling, it was still possible to see some stars shining through the breaks.

I turned to walk back towards the dormitory, and as I turned my headlamp back on, two bright yellows lights caught my eye on the edge of the forest. Only once I looked up at them did I realize they were actually eyes and not lights shining back at me from less than 20 feet away. They looked huge, and they were several inches separated. They were perhaps 6 inches off the ground, so for a second I figured it was some large rodent making its way to the fish carcass someone else had left laying out in front of the dormitory. A second later a shot of adrenaline pushed my heart into my throat as the eyes lifted to about three feet off the ground, then a second later dropped back to a few inches from the ground. My jaw dropped, and I froze. I could envision the animal moving perfectly behind those eyes. I was still several steps away from the stairs leading back to the dormitory door, and as I slowly took the steps, my light illuminated the animal's face, the lines running along its nose, and the spots along its cheek bones. It was a jaguar.

The local name for the Jaguar is, Otorongo. This apparently means, kills in one silent leap.

The fear I had always imagined feeling at seeing a big cat in the wild became reality. A sickness welled up within my stomach, and all I could concentrate on was getting inside. I slowly made it to the top of the steps, gazed at the jaguar's unerring stare for one more eery second, then turned and walked as quickly as I could to the door.

I laid back down in bed a minute later, and waited for the adrenaline to get out of my system. I stared at the cieling until twilight began to show through the plastic covering the apex of the roof, then I got up and went to eat some breakfast.

I have wanted to see a big cat for so long, because I always thought it would be one thing I knew could frighten me to the bone. The way those eyes stared into me was captivating and terrifying. From the time I looked at them, to the time I got back to the door I never took my eyes off them, yet all my mind was screaming, "GET AWAY!!!"

That was a fear I have never felt before. It was a fear of self preservation. It was not cool, it was not exciting, it was exactly what I expected. Although it was maybe thirty seconds long, not once did anything cross my mind other than concentrating doing whatever I had to do to remain in the same state I was in at that moment - alive.

That being said, I want to see another one, but you can bet your ass I am a little more scared to walk to my cabin at night.


Rosa said...

it's pretty phenomenal, isn't it, that what we are living is *life*, in all of its glory?

i miss you. every time that i get an email telling me that you've updated this blog, i grin

Frances said...

hmmm...we don't have those Otorongo things in Kentucky.

haha..bet you didn't feel much safer on the other side of that holey screen either.

Patrick Burke said...

Will, I'm glad you didn't get eaten.