Texas Falls

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(Host) Recently commentator Alan Boye visited Texas Falls, near Hancock Vermont. It wasn’t quite what he expected.

(Boye) I hear the hiss of Texas Falls ahead of me. A skinny cold rain falls through the dark Vermont woods out of a cloudy June sky, but the recent wet weather hasn’t kept the black flies away. Gigantic clouds of them swarm around my head.

I keep fighting off the battalion of black flies because I’ve wanted to see Texas Falls for a long time. I figure any place named after a big ole state like Texas must be something to see.

But all I see is a tiny bridge at the bottom of a short hill. I don’t know what I was expecting, but one thing is for sure, it’s hard to imagine something cramped into this tiny canyon could be Tex-a-sized.

I brush a big fat black fly from behind my ear and then step out onto the bridge. A white rushing chute of water slices its way though a narrow crevasse. The water cuts through sheer walls of stone like a white blade through dark marble. The falls is dramatic, and it is beautiful, but it just doesn’t live up to its name.

Now forgive me, native Vermonters, but a long time ago I lived in the Lone Star state. I know Texas. I worked in Texas. And Vermonters, this is no “Texas” falls. Why, Texas is big! It’s so big you could stand the entire state of Vermont bolt upright and it wouldn’t even cast a shadow.

No one can explain how the name “Texas” came to be associated with this small place so deep in the Green Mountains. The name dates to at least 1850 where it appears on old maps of the area. It might have been named to commemorate the short-lived Republic of Texas. Or maybe it’s just a joke. Somebody was laughing at the very idea of anything Texas-sized in tiny Vermont.

Then a black fly so big it would scare a turkey vulture right out of the sky, climbs out of the neck of my shirt. Texas Falls certainly is home to some Texas-sized black flies.

I cross the bridge and follow a peaceful nature trail sprinkled with delicate trillium in full bloom. They light up the dreary trail.

Texas can keep its wide-open places; while Texas Falls might not live up to its grand name, it is a place where you can find Vermont-style beauty. The kind of beauty that lies all around us in the infinite accumulation of nature’s small intricate details.

This is Alan Boye just walking the hills of Vermont.

Alan Boye teaches at Lyndon State College. He spoke to us from our studio in Norwich.

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