Windfarm

I like windfarms, have always been fascinated by them.

I find them hugely innovative, generally don’t mind that they’ve changed the view, and the noise doesn’t bother me, though I’m not sure I could live in the middle of it.

Man, when the wind blows, it is crazy there, with the blades spinning, being surrounded by several dozen different cadences of whoosh, whoosh, whoosh...

If you have a chance, go and stand in the middle of one when the wind’s blowing good and hard.

See what your reaction is, how you feel. Mine was surprising to me. It made me a bit sad. Sad that it’s come to this. It feels like a price to pay (and then some) for all the stuff we have and want, not like zero energy.

There’s a ritual in the framing of a house that speaks to this: once the ridge beam’s been set, the master builder is supposed to go out into the forest, cut down a conifer, bring it back to the newly-framed house, and nail it to the ridge beam. It was, after all, the tree that allowed the house to be built. If that sounds a little odd, people, says Michael Pollan in A Place of My Own, “have traditionally turned to ritual to help them frame and acknowledge and ultimately even find joy in just such a paradox of being human – in the fact that so much of what we desire for our happiness and need for our survival comes at a heavy cost... Sacrifice – of nature, of the interests of others, even of our earlier selves – appears to be an inescapable part of our condition, the unavoidable price of all our achievements... Without the double awareness pricked by such rituals, people are liable to find themselves either plundering the earth without restraint or descending into self-loathing and misanthropy...It is a mark of our weakness and power both, for along with the fallibility implied in the need to build a shelter, there is at the same time the audacity of it all – reaching up into the sky, altering the face of the land.”

The paradox is there, in a windfarm, and the sacrifice, the audacity reaching up into the sky. Maybe the ritual is just to go up there and listen every once in a while, to stand among the monoliths and listen to the wind pushing past them, listen to what the power of that wind can do.