The Trick Park
I visited Ryan Park off of Lafayette Road in North Kingstown, Rhode Island on March 24th, 2018 A.D. It consists of a broad dirt road running through an open field area in the middle with forest around the edges. The road gradually tapers to a trail as it approaches the southern entrance on Oak Hill Road. To the east is Belleville Pond, which can be seen through the leafless trees in the winter. The park is actually kind of boring, but I had myself with me and he’s very interesting. This is how the park looked through my weird Dan glasses:
I originally took the central path from north to south. Many narrow trails appearing to be bike trails entered the woods on either side. The topography was very hilly – very much unlike Florida. In fact, many of the tiny hills were a bit too steep to have happened naturally and I thought that a mighty civilization of humans must have once dwelled there. No sooner did I have this thought than I stumbled across a ditch full of large stones of roughly uniform size. The race of humans must have been sorters. What was it that had caused their demise?
Further along the trail, I continued to see signs of the artificial nature of the park. If only I knew what these signs portended I would have left immediately, but fool I was I assumed they were only signs of past human activities. There were odd piles here and there of neatly stacked stones, logs, or tires. What was their purpose? Were they territorial markers? Did they have religious significance?
Reaching the southern extreme of the park, I turned east towards the pond. At first, it seemed unapproachable, as a dense border of reeds and marshland surrounded it, but eventually one path brought me to a row of wooden beams sitting atop the mud, allowing me to walk right up to the water’s edge.
There was quite a web of paths running every which way, and if I could not see my way through the trunks made bare by winter, I could have easily been lost forever. It was in this area I saw the first shoots of spring rising from the land in hopeful expectation of the glorious seasons ahead. In addition to pitcher plants by the pond, there were short plants with black leaves. In other places, there were patches of green briars with formidable thorns.
Again heading north, I began to hear strange speech, but could see no one talking. The language was eerie, the words rather like the sounds of a duck or a frog, yet it had a certain human quality to the pattern of speech. I eventually traced the sound to a large puddle, at which point the sound abruptly stopped the moment I appeared. There was no one to be seen. I was quite familiar with this phenomenon from my time in Junior High School. It meant that the hidden speakers had been talking about me!
Further along the path, I came across a baseball cap draped over a fallen tree. Someone had lost it somehow – but why had they not turned back to pick it up? Were they in a hurry? Were they being chased? A short distance further I saw a single glove. Did it belong to the same person? Why were they losing their clothing? What had happened to them? Further along I saw an empty can of diet coke. Now I knew something was wrong. Nobody gives away soda for free. I saw now that this was a dangerous area where unsuspecting travelers might be chased by woodland fairies who would strip them of their clothing and take food right out of their mouths! At that moment I remembered the strange voices near the pond and realized I might already be a target. I would have to be on my guard.
Walking quickly, I crossed a stream and happened to look to the left. This is when I finally understood. A recent windstorm had knocked over the trees – but instead of uprooting, they had pulled up the carpet beneath them – exposing the true nature of the park beneath! This was no park at all! No wonder the trees did not have leaves! No wonder the topography was so strange! It was some demented fairy’s idea of what they thought a park was supposed to look like so that they could trick and trap unsuspecting explorers!
I instantly broke into a run, screaming like a baby. I did not even stop to take a picture and have no idea how it got into my phone. As I tore through the web of crisscrossing trails, I began to worry that I might never make it out alive. That is when I saw the signs. Branches laid against trees spelled the letter “Y.” It being a letter used only by humans, I thought it might be showing a way out of the woods. I also thought it could be a fairy trick just to toy with me and prolong my suffering, wearing me out before they closed in for the kill. I had little choice; I took a chance and followed the mysterious trail.
I followed the path as it ran along the top of a tall, narrow ridge, its artificiality blatantly obvious now. How could I have been so stupid? I passed around an unusually large patch of green briars and went near another pond. There I heard the fairies speaking even louder than before. They sounded angry and I took it as a sign I was headed in the right direction. I ran and ran past more of the signs. I still don’t know how the pictures got into my phone…
At last, I found myself at the parking lot where I had come in and scurried to the safety of my automobile. The fairies would not catch me that day, and I would never enter that trick park again.
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My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.