maura @ 9:54 pm
We’re back from our Midwest getaway. We slept and read lots and indulged in the culinary treats of the region, including cheeseburgers with peanut butter, frozen custard, and ribs. This year’s trip was a bit shorter than usual so we only had time for a quick overnight trip to Chicago, though it was still long enough for duck fat fries and the best dang Swedish breakfast for miles.
On the drive north to Chicago we passed through an enormous wind farm. And I mean enormous: definitely hundreds of acres covered by windmills, maybe more. When you’re in the midst of it the windmills stretch farther than the eye can see, and since the land is pretty flat around here that’s a long way off. I suspect it’s one electric company that owns the windmills (yes, I know I could google it, but I’m trying to avoid the internet when I write) because they seem to be located on many different corn and soybean farm fields. They’re spread various distances apart — sometimes there are multiple windmills in a row, and sometimes they’re more isolated — though all of them are pointing in the same direction.
It’s difficult to get a sense of the scale of each windmill. They’re almost toylike when you first catch a glimpse of the blades in the distance, and grow to truly unbelievably massive when you’re driving right past one. (I tried to get some good photos but the limits of the phone camera + shooting from the passenger seat thwarted the best shots.)
On our way up to Chicago the air was pre-thunderstorm still so most of the blades weren’t turning. But on the drive back south every windmill was working hard to earn its keep. When the angle lines up right and you can see an entire line of windmills spinning they sort of resemble synchronized swimmers in those old movies. It’s mesmerizing to watch the blades turn — I could watch it for hours, I think.
The windmills make the landscape seem somewhat alien, as if spaceships dropped them off and flew away. Maybe I’ve just watched too many scifi movies — with the summer haze they have a floating quality, like the big ship in District 9. Or maybe they hide something larger beneath, like the awful, crappy remake of War of the Worlds. And of course I can’t help but channel the Simpsons: I for one welcome our windmill overlords!