Look how far we've come. Luckily I was saved by the grips of the wild savagery of the West.
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, June 16, 2011
It was priceless and cliche all at once. The most beautiful sunrise of my life awaited me around the corner one morning as I came into a clearing on Hwy 101 passing through Olympic National Park along Lake Crescent with Mt. Storm King in the distance. Now, I have been witness to a myriad of breathtaking sunrises, but this one was just beyond majestic.
While working at Olympic Park Institute, I had began to loosely time my commute to work with the sunrise in the early summer. Some days I rode my mountain bike down a gravel road to the bus stop, while other mornings I rode it the other direction four miles along the lakeshore to a canoe that would take me, or some days several of us along with our bikes, across the lake to work. Some days we would canoe the whole distance from our house to work, never quite sure whether a placid fog or three-foot rollers would meet us along the way. And of course, we would drive some days as well. This morning I drove.
Above the shadow of a coniferous canopy, twilight was breaking into a peachy indigo as dust swirled behind my car. It looked to be a little early, so I drove on a little unexpectantly.
As I pulled over along the lakeshore and pulled out my camera I couldn’t help but smile, stand, stare, and scream a little. I might have cried, or at least now in the fiction of my memory there were tears involved. What else can you ask for in life when the day entrusts to you such an intimate and virtually transcendent view of reality?
When I wonder about the existence of heaven, I like to imagine myself high in the mountains amidst a field of wildflowers, beneath an endless sunrise whispering the promise of a new beginning. But then again, here it is, right before me.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
It has taken me quite some time to finally find the time, energy, and inspiration to get back to what I love more than most things. This year has brought me perhaps the most upheaval I have experienced, at least since days of adolescence. I have a child, a beautiful daughter now, a wonderfully loving and amazing wife, a job that promises the potential flourishing of many dreams, and I am in a place that will continually push me to seek out this path I began on who knows when.
Several times I left the Olympic Peninsula of Washington with trepidation, wondering if I could handle life away from there. On the Peninsula I feel at home, which, for me, is a place where no explanation of my beliefs or actions are necessary. It is a place where I feel understood, accepted, and encouraged to follow whatever path I perceive before me. I thought perhaps I could take this mentality and way of life with me elsewhere in hopes that I could spread this feeling to people in other areas of our country. This proved to be rather challenging. I found each time I left, something was missing immediately. Realizing this, I began to reflect on how the environment in which we live influences who we become, how we treat each other and ourselves, etc. I found that the environment in Washington tempered many people who live there in a way that seemed to fit me best. Lush, really lush vegetation shrouded by gray clouds, the peppering of storms and rain with fleeting moments of sunshine - it is in my heart and soul, part of my daily thoughts, yet I struggled to take that love anywhere else.
Now, I live in New Jersey, and I teach science in a high school only 20 miles from the Big Apple, and I am finally finding a time and place in which I am able to retain the life I relish in Washington. The hope is that I will be able to share some of that life, that Sylvan Dream, with those around me here. There are perspectives of life I don't believe we get until we look outward and deeply inwards. When I see some first glimmers of smiles of knowing wonder in the people around me, I feel some of the lush rain from the West falling inside me.
In this new place and time, I am finding I am learning and growing together as a part of something larger and very special as a father and a husband. Look where dreams take us...