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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

One More Holiday in York, Pa

Mexico is already a dream the Christmas season has fuzzied up. I was very excited to return to my family, friends, and the land, so when I saw my best friend waiting patiently in a chair for me in the airport, I felt content to be back. I came home with a debilitating cut on my foot that laid me up for several weeks, making me a little more sedentary, which isn’t much a problem in itself, but now, with two days left, I feel I am just once again settling into myself – walking in the fields and forest with dog and friends.
Listening mainly to her nose and occasionally my voice, our pointer, Sierra, runs through the fields with a directed abandon that brings me liberating delight. She circles back around to me from time to time, breathing heavier than I can imagine doing myself. She’s a huge pointer. As she runs past, a rooster tail of mud sprays behind her, her feet pounding the ground like a horse.
For a few minutes as the sun rises on Little Conewago Valley, everything is cast in a warm glow. The glistening cornstalks throw long shadows across the crunchy soil, and ice crystals form on the hairs just below my nose.
Watching Sierra run out ahead of me, my eyes follow the land to the north towards the hills where our burnt house waits to be demolished. I know I am home here, but don't always feel it with the people. My wanderings and lifestyle have brought me to appreciate a calm and welcoming demeanor. However back in Pa, I often pass awkward and cold conversations with most people. I try to remain warm and welcoming, but jeez is it ever tough to do so with someone so gruff and short as a clerk in a super market or a nine-fingered man cutting trees off his land in the woods I grew up hunting on.

Last week my sister and I took a walk in the woods. I don’t know the last time we walked through these woods together, but it is highly likely that neither of us were yet into our teens. We walked up the deeply rutted jeep trail that served as a perfect luge track for us in the snowy winters of the 90’s, and passed the rusty refuse fridge – a well-known landmark on these trails that has been there my whole life. We spliced together a walk of several miles between jeep and deer trail, circling the land we know, sharing stories of the places we passed.
Approaching our favorite hunting spot, we diverged to the trees we spent so much time in. The triple tree, a spray of three oak trees where Tiff and my dad used to hunt across from me, was now a triple stump with sprays of new growth coming up around it. The double tree where I hunted the most was now a single tree, its sibling just a stump as well. Standing directly beneath the tree I could see the black hook sticking out from the main trunk about 25 feet up where I used to hang my bow in waiting. Tiff and I pointed out some of the spots Dad used to position scent canisters around the deer trail that passed between our trees, and then waded through the next generation of head high saplings towards the jeep trail. Much of this land was beginning to enter a rather mature status as a mixed hardwood and hemlock forest. However, these woods are also quite valuable. Each year I come home, I find freshly cut stumps in some section of forest. The briars thicken for a few years as the saplings race skywards and then take over just in time for another round of their larger contemporaries to disappear to the needs of humanity.
Watching the forests change like this has made me quite sad in the past, but I am beginning to feel rather numb to the whole process. However, this scares me more. Nonetheless, there is much to enjoy.

Standing beneath a small hemlock I once sat under for a whole day during college, I told my sister how I feel there are these pockets of time and place in these hills that make everything hum in an almost silent unison. It is then I feel the quiet I seek. I would love to have a minimal shelter here in this one spot, so I could watch these woods change more closely.
Even better yet, I like to envision a small environmental education center here where the local school students come and learn about the forests, their history, and their heritage. I like to tell myself, if I had a place like this here in Pa, maybe then I could return with ease.
For now, it is back to the magic of the Pacific Northwest, the Olympic Mountains, Lake Crescent, and LeSage for another year in paradise. I can’t say how excited I am to return to what is for now, undeniably my home.