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MARTHA SEZ: ‘People ... are apt to give geese too little credit for showmanship’

October 12, 2018
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

Wasn't Columbus Day weekend perfect? The Keene Events and Tourism Committee (KECT) couldn't have planned it any better, even if we had an Events and Tourism Committee, which we don't.

Leaf season was peak or nearing peak just as the three-day weekend began. The weather was chilly and sometimes rainy, but some say gray skies make the color look more saturated, which is better for photographs.

My daughter mentioned that as she and two friends of hers were driving to Keene from Maine, people keep endangering their own lives and the lives of other motorists by abruptly pulling over, the better to appreciate scenes of breathtaking beauty. Yes, well, I told her, people come here for Columbus weekend just because it is so heartbreakingly beautiful. Leaf peepers. See? We even have a name for them.

Although I am not above leaf-peeping myself.

KECT might also have claimed responsibility for the geese that flew honking overhead in approximate V formation, right on schedule. This was great for our visitors. We can see the geese flying south any time they choose to depart, but vacationers get only that little three-day window of opportunity.

I did notice that the geese, despite their reputation, were seldom if ever in true V formation. They seemed always just on the verge of it, over correcting, realigning, striving for perfection, and sometimes coming darn close. I liked them better for it; it made them seem more human. Then again, maybe they just don't want to make it look too easy.

People in general, I believe, are apt to give geese too little credit for showmanship.

What do you suppose is the most difficult part of goose migration? If you said, "All of that flapping, from Canada to wherever it is they go," you are mistaken.

The most debilitating aspect, for the geese, is the incessant honking, which they keep up for as long as there are people on the ground to hear them.

Why would they honk like that if they didn't want everybody to look up, pointing and taking photographs? I mean, you can hear them coming a mile away. They sound like a pack of baying hounds.

I think next year when they fly over we should all just go about our business and pretend we don't notice. I'll bet they drop down right above our heads, going fast and doing tricks like stunt pilots, flying sideways and even turning somersaults in the air.

Ignore them long enough and they might stop flying South altogether.

Our KECT would be accepting praise for holding off the gusting winds, making the weatherman look foolish, perhaps, but keeping the leaves on the trees for the duration of the holiday.

I hate to think how that board would be swaggering around town right now, saying things like "Oh well, we aim to please!" or pretending to be humble about the way the weekend went down. "I feel humbled," they would be saying, "by the success of our Columbus Day planning. Our business people made a lot of money!"

I visited the keene Transfer Station, world's most scenic dump, to view the full panoramic splendor of the mountains in their autumn glory. How did this magnificent piece of real estate, ringed by high peaks, ever become the town dump in the first place?

"Oh," my friend Val told me, "it didn't use to have a view. It was covered with trees. Before it became a transfer station, or even a landfill, we'd go to the dump in the evening to watch the bears root through the garbage. It was something to do."

The town kept clearing more land and digging more holes to bury trash in, she said, eventually revealing this stupendous view.

In recent years, the town has made the transfer station into a kind of park, with a parking area for scenic lookout purposes. I took a bag or two of trash along, but that wasn't my main reason for going. I wasn't disappointed. It was magnificent! There was even a little band of Canada geese marching along over the grass in the foreground, trying to get attention.

By covering over the landfill and carting away new garbage, the town has unfortunately destroyed the delicate balance between man and bear. The bears consider this disgraceful. Is it any wonder that bear depredations in town have increased?

The Events and Tourism Committee, when we get one, should look into that.

Have a good week.



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