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Sylvan Lane

By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 02/10/2024

There is a street near my home called Sylvan Lane.  It winds its way for about 500 yards from Opechee Way at its south end up to El Rito Avenue to the north.  There are no cross streets.  

There is very little traffic on Sylvan Lane.  I rarely see anyone out and about.  But the homes and yards are lovely.  It gives me pleasure to admire them.  

There are no streets quite like Sylvan anywhere in my neighborhood.  My 20-year-old Webster's says “Sylvan” can mean “pleasantly rural” or “pastoral”.  I like those meanings, for I find Sylvan Lane a place of quite calm.  

I have a history of memories with Sylvan Lane.  Memories from Halloween, when the shadows of “spooky” bats fluttered on the bare wall of one of the homes.  Memories of Christmas decorations, faithfully displayed for all to see.   Other homes in my area decorate for the holidays, but somehow Sylvan Lane seems to outshine all the rest.

I remember many lovely walks along Sylvan Lane with my wife, Jean.   Jean particularly loved a gardenia shrub near the Opechee end of our route.  She was quite taken by the beautiful blooms and the sweet fragrances of the gardenia blossoms.  Alas, the gardenia's days were numbered, as were Jean's.  But sweet memories of Jean fill my heart whenever I walk past the spot where that gardenia shrub once lived.

I walk alone now, but Sylvan Lane continues to be my favorite nearby street. I usually end my walks with a tour of Sylvan.  She often surprises me with something new to see along her way.

Going back 14 months, I experienced something like an epiphany.  It reached its climax as I walked along Sylvan Lane, taking in the majesty of her trees, the fragrance of her flowers, the sound of her breezes.  I felt a warmth like a blanket engulfing me.  A “presence” filled my body, my heart, my soul.  I have not been quite the same since.  I feel that presence daily, on Sylvan and elsewhere.  The presence that first revealed herself on Sylvan.  

On another occasion, as I walked the Lane this past fall, a huge tree startled me with its array of leaves decked out in shades of reds, oranges, and yellows.  I was so taken by that tree that I stopped in the middle of the street and sang “Autumn Leaves” to it.  That song helped me grieve the loss of Jean as it brought back not only the sadness, but also the joy of my years with her.  

Recently, I happened to meet a young women who was out walking her dog along Sylvan Lane.  I have never really been a dog person.  I've actually feared them due to some moderately “traumatic” experiences in my childhood.  But this dog,“Richard” by name, somehow drew me to him.  I rubbed the back of his head and nape of his neck.  His owner encouraged me with the words “He loves people”.  

Then, spontaneously, from deep in my heart, that “presence” rose, and I responded . . .


“So do I”.

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