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“Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light ..….”, the sound of a trumpet playing the national anthem in the campground? Was I dreaming? Who was playing a trumpet this early in the morning? I was snuggled in my warm, cozy sleeping bag, not wanting to get up. Yes, it was Labor Day weekend at Brighton State Park, our family’s favorite time of year to visit. Chipmunks were scurrying about preparing for winter, and with Vermont’s fall foliage beginning to change to its brilliant colors, there was a sense of calmness throughout the park.

Memories of camping with our kids over the years had been dancing through my mind. Our son, for whom we thought we were going to need a search party, finally returned with an old spike after finding a railroad track. Hiking led to many habitat discoveries including a snake. The kids loved exploring, thus learning about early settlers and Abenaki Indians in the area. Following the “guiding light” to the wash house in the middle of the night when a bat swooped down is but one of many night time tales. Outdoor life at its finest!

This year was different though, with our daughter away at college and son overseas in the military. As I peeked out our window and listened to nature’s chorus of birds, mist covered Spectacle Pond left nothing to see except white. It was time to crawl out of bed. Would the trumpet solo mystery be solved? A warming sun and bright blue sky gradually broke through the misty air. Imagine looking toward a small island with an American flag waving in the gentle late morning breeze. Had it been there the night before?

- Rebecca Mackin

A blue-toned photo of a lake and mountains at sunrise
Photo by Vermont Parks Forever, Brighton State Park


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