The White Heron is filled with metaphors. From high in the branches of the great pine, Sylvia views the world in a new way. Pilots and astronauts develop a new way of thinking and unsderstanding life when they see the world from on high. They see tha way the parts relate to the whole. The connections. Well Sylvia is not that high up, but she sees for example the sea, and the sea represents a world far beyond the green paths and cows she knows. She sees the world she does know in a whole new way. The tree is the climb we all have to make in order to achieve a greater understanding. It's hard work, it's exciting, it's rewarding. Sylvan is a word from the Latin meaning forest. It's interesting that the girl's name carries that symbolism. Sylvan has the connotation of growing, life, lushness.