(Host) Although tomorrow is Halloween, commentator Alan Boye says he’s already had his fright – and he wasn’t even trick or treating.
(Boye) I didn’t go Kingsland Bay State Park to be scared out of my wits – but I saw something there that still haunts me.
I reached the park on a gray, late October afternoon. Lake Champlain was perfectly calm. There wasn’t a shred of wind, and the water was as still as polished glass. The gray, cloudy sky. . .the black skeletons of trees . . .and the somber, slate-colored water gave me the eerie feeling that I was in a world turned black and white, where all color had disappeared.
The main attraction of Kingsland Bay State Park is an old Inn built in 1790 that looks as if it would make a fine home for the faint shadows of ghosts and goblins.
I barely noticed the building. I just grabbed a brochure and headed for the trail. As I walked up from a sandy, white beach into the dark woods, I read that fossils had been found in the cliffs out along this trail.
Fossils!? I wouldn’t mind seeing some fossils. Over 400 million years ago a shallow sea covered the Champlain basin. Weird primitive creatures lived here then. Trilobites – with strange bug-like bodies – squirmed over the sand, while animals that looked like seaweed, clung to the rocks and swayed in the ocean’s currents.
The trail soon reached a ledge high above Lake Champlain. I looked around. The water, the sky, and the mountains were layered one upon the other like pieces of dark felt place on dome of the world. Just over there, where the dark forest hugged the shore, a farmer once uncovered the fossilized remains of a white whale. Paleontologists say that 11,000 years ago Beluga whales swam where now we humans live.
I began to tip-toe along the rocky rim, walking over blocks of shale and limestone that hung thirty feet above the cold, dark water. I stopped again.
Just as I knelt down in order to look for fossils, I saw it. A huge form stretched out its black arms straight towards me. A squid-like shape – its dark body as big as my own – hugged the rocky cliff. I stumbled backwards trying to get away from the thing. I stood until my heart stopped pounding in my ears. It was nothing more than the wind-gnarled remains of a lone cedar tree, hanging on the rocky cliff.
It didn’t matter; I had seen something better than a monster; I had been frightened witless by a clear view of time’s eternity held captive on the cliffs above Lake Champlain.
This is Alan Boye just walking the hills of Vermont.
Alan Boye teaches at Lyndon State College. He spoke from our studio at the Fairbanks Museum in Saint Johnsbury. His latest book is titled, "Just Walking the Hills of Vermont."