This language of mine is so filled with clever words meant to precisely describe many things. Other words have meanings that are soft, fluid and flexible that they are used to describe concepts so vast as to make the boundaries of those definitions fuzzy and flexible.
To me, sylvan feels like on of those words.
SILL - vann
Living in or simply relating to the woods.
To me, growing up this word had a fuzzy meaning that was almost opposite of it’s actual definition.
Sylvan meant a trip to the beach.
Not a great beach.
Yet a twenty minute drive from my house was a large prairie pond called Sylvan Lake. On a summer Saturday we’d drive out, swim in the shallow, muddy water, wander the path along the town, and eat candy or ice cream.
Or later, “Want to go to Sylvan this weekend?” As a teenager with driving license this was a epic getaway far away and out of town.
The shores of Sylvan Lake, the lake, is not devoid of trees by any means and I imagine now, knowing the definition of its alias, that once long ago it was revealed by explorers and granted a name because it was a huge lake in the middle of a woods. Today it is but a dent in the vast agricultural Canadian prairies, an impression in the otherwise rolling flat lands that happens to contain water, support a small town, and attract city folks for their weekend getaways.
I’ve since travelled to many beaches touching many lakes, rivers, oceans, and warm blue seas. It still echoes back to my youth when I hear this word, yes.
But my association with this word has mostly reverted to moments more like the photo in this post: the quiet of the woods, the majesty of a living forest, and the peace that comes from walking among the trees.