Monday, October 10, 2011

The New Giants

Yesterday, on what was a gorgeous autumn morning, Kurt called to tell me to come pick him up as the truck had broken down while he was hunting with Tally.  I assumed he was over by my mom's down in the creek flats where he had blasted 3 wood ducks on Saturday, but as he gave me directions I realized he was the opposite way, well into Gratiot County on a country road in the land of the "new giants".

So, it was without the usual grumbling that I went to get him.  My route took me down unpaved roads, and through countryside alive with brilliant color.  Farmers were humming in the fields as harvest was now started in earnest, and the warm, dry days won't last for much longer.  I found he and Tally where they had directed and after we unloaded the truck and stowed things safely in the car trunk, he left a key in the gas tank for the wrecker which he had called.   I took the leisurely route home as I told Kurt, I wanted to see the wind turbines off Lincoln Road again.

Two weeks ago my mom had told of going to her brother's, my uncle, to see the new wind turbines being erected in Gratiot County, and pretty much right across the road from my uncle's house.  We had known of the wind turbine project for some time and how the farmers and landowners in Gratiot were being approached to lease land for these structures to be erected.  My uncle has held out from agreeing to these turbines, believing that this may not be the best deal for the farmer's involved.  But many do not share his philosophy and my mom came back from the tour, telling me how big they are and how many of them there are already.  The following Friday evening we had a chance to go see Hemlock high school's football team play at Alma in what would be a game of undefeated teams.  While a crisp night, it was a good night for football.  I jumped at the idea, though we hadn't even been to a "home" football game this year, partially, (well mostly), to drive through the area of wind turbines before dark and get my own up close and personal views. 

As we approached Meridian Road which is the dividing line between Saginaw County and Gratiot, the road curves through a woods.  Kurt told me once we rounded the curve I would be able to see the turbines.  I don't know what my expectations were, I had certainly seen pictures of wind turbines lined up like soldiers in the prairie areas of Texas, but what I saw did not even register on the expectation meter.   When we rounded that curve, I truly, felt my mouth drop open in awe.   Lined up across the familiar landscape horizon rose giant structures that dwarfed the trees below them.  Three pronged mammoth blades hung stationary for the moment from bases that would have shrunk giant redwood trees.  They appeared almost as alien presences, something out of a science fiction movie, silent and brooding over the earth, far below.  It was as if someone had dropped single skyscrapers into different farm fields.  It literally took my breath away as we drove by them, row upon disparate rows .  They were not lined up as soldiers, but in no discernible pattern, and they seemed to be every where on each side of the road.  I could not take my eyes from them.

As we drove further west the turbines gradually thinned down, but we could see driveways and turn arounds built into fields where future turbines would be erected.  We spied one large crane hanging the turbine's blades, and it was hard to imagine the size flatbed truck that would have been needed to transport such gigantic structures.  I had heard stories from people who lived by the freeway, recounting seeing huge trucks pulling flatbed trailers with these blades aboard.  They marveled at these parts moving by.  But the actual viewing of them against the sky was something akin to building the Mackinac bridge in a farm field.  I would guess that Lincoln Road will be seeing unprecendented traffic for the next months as it was better than taking the Christmas light tour. 

The game turned out to be exciting, and a near down to the wire win by Hemlock, trumped only by the time running out, heroics of Alma.  I got to take a nostalgic trip back to the town of my college days, though we never really got over to campus, it is always fun to go back.  It is not far, but seems light years away at times.  It was another time in my life, and now one of fond and fuzzy memories. 

Every once in a while we need to be shook up and struck speechless.  I hope the wind turbine experiment works and that they will in the very near future be seen as nothing more than satellite towers.  But for now it was well worth driving a bit out of my way on a nice autumn morning to see the "New Giants"....

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