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MARTHA SEZ: It’s almost time for Bulky Days

October 13, 2017
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Tuesday, the day after Columbus Day, brings clear skies washed clean by yesterday's torrential rains, with just a few pretty little clouds sailing along high in the wild blue yonder.

This is the week, right before mid October, when leaf color is at its peak or slightly past peak in the Lake Placid/Keene vicinity. What do we see?

A muted palette of earth tones. Nothing spectacular.

To each his own, though, right? Just because I prefer to view brilliant autumn leaves on the streets of Keene Valley and surrounding mountain slopes doesn't mean everybody does. Perhaps some people will prefer this tasteful, toned-down foliage look to that stereotypical gaudy peak-leaf display you'd expect to see on a picture postcard of the Adirondacks.

Yes, if you want to look out your picture window to a scene that accents and enhances but never overwhelms your nice beige-on-beige living room, this is the fall foliage color for you. No flaming leaves, just a pleasant tableau of restful pastels.

"Oh, now, I saw a really bright red tree when I was coming down Spruce Hill this morning," a co-worker tells me. I shrug. The odd bright red tree, sporadic dashes of yellow in the landscape. We waited all year for this? Clearly, it is not enough, but of course we are powerless to do a thing to improve it. With Nature, we get what we are served. As one woman optimistically pointed out to me, "This'll keep the leaf peepers home."

It has been an unusually warm fall. Here in the town of Keene most of us haven't lost our gardens yet. Of course, as always, Rivermede Farm in Keene Valley is the exception, the first location to get hit by killing frost. It does seem unfair, even cruel, that Rivermede should be singled out this way, but there you go. That's Nature for you.

The summer has been busy, with record numbers of visitors to the trails, roads, stores, inns and restaurants of the Adirondacks. Now that Columbus Day is over it will be interesting to see how much things calm down around here.

Other years, peak leaf has been spectacular, coinciding with the three-day Columbus Day weekend, with blue skies, honking geese in migratory V formation and warm sunshine to finish the summer tourist season with a flourish. This year, the tail end of Hurricane Nate swept through the Northeast, supplying dark skies and a constant downpour of rain. Still, I suppose it is churlish of me to complain about a rainy day, considering the widespread destruction Harvey, Irma and Maria have wreaked during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.

I just went over to the Noon Mark Diner to pick up a town of Keene October calendar page. Town Hall, Valley Grocery and McDonough's Hardware and Village PO dispense them, too. I needed the calendar to see whether I've missed Bulky Days yet. It was a shock to see the Noon Mark parking lot empty at 8:30 in the morning-breakfast time. I'll bet it's the first time this has happened since mud season.

When local people say that fall is their favorite time of year I believe they are talking about this brief span following Columbus Day when most of the visitors have left, Indian summer is upon us and everyone has a few golden, restful days after a summer of hard work in the tourist economy. Friends and neighbors we haven't seen for months are coming out of the woodwork, reclaiming the town.

Oh, thank heaven, I didn't miss Bulky Days. This year they fall on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, Oct. 18, 20 and 21.

While many downplay the significance of Bulky Days as merely a convenient way to get rid of unwanted furniture, clothing, outdated electronic equipment and appliances at the town's expense, I have always looked at this event as an important biannual local holiday held at the Keene Transfer Station, world's most scenic dump.

In April, Bulky Days heralds the end of winter, spring cleaning, and, by extension, new life.

In October, surrounded by slopes dressed in their colorful fall garb (or, this year, not so colorful), the transfer station is a place to shed outmoded possessions, and, symbolically, get down to brass tacks. What is really important? We ask ourselves this during Bulky Days.

Maybe I'll drive over there right now and look at the colors. They are bound to be beautiful even if they are muted.

Have a good week.



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