Tilting at Windmills

VIVIANE6276 CC0 Creative Commons on Pixabay

I love moments when I see my perspective shift on something.  I tilt my psychological head and, bam! things are suddenly different.

I was driving to the hospital to see mom. The Vermont hills, peppered with farms and cows, rolled before me, small towns and communities rising up and fading away.  The green scenery swaddled me in its splendor; an occasional tree hinted at autumn.

I rounded a turn. There on the hill before me was a display of a half-dozen windmills.

They claimed the ridge line like a crown on a queen’s head, their white towers and blades contrasting against the leafy green of the trees they towered over.

Wind power, I thought, imperceptibly nodding my approval.

Yet I was simultaneously aware another character had some reservations about the turbines.

“These things are HUGE! They’re behemoths! They overshadow the hills they sit on and look completely out of scale,” it said.

I suddenly felt confused. Are windmills good or bad? Wind power is clean, so it’s good, right? But wind turbines kill birds, so that makes them bad. Then again, they’re elegant in their design, which is good. But they really can overwhelm hillsides and that can be bad. But then, they’re not oil. That alone makes them good, right?

What did I think about them?  I was surprised at my waffling; my uncertainty.

Then I experienced my head tilt moment; my perspective shift; sudden clarity: what if it had been oil derricks on that hill?

And I knew, instantly, that I would have been offended by them. I would have known—with that complete assurance one feels in their bones (even though that still doesn’t make it true)—that I would have disapproved of oil derricks perched on pristine Vermont hilltops.

Had they been oil derricks, my negative reaction to them would have been instantaneous and unquestioning.  Even if they had been smaller or blended in better. No waffling. No uncertainty. Oil Derricks? Oh, yuck.

Yes, even as I drove my combustion-engine car, I knew only one character would have come out to comment had they been oil derricks: The Judge, with her singular, disapproving opinion, delivered from “the gut.”

Thank goodness they were windmills; they gave my characters a chance to tilt.


Photo source: VIVIANE6276 on Pixabay


16 thoughts on “Tilting at Windmills

  1. Bobbi

    Beautifully said. Love your attention to the world around you, your willingness to question yourself, your insights, and your language, which this time is particularly descriptive and creative. I’m noticing that perhaps because I’m reading Amor Towles and he is a master of similes, metaphors, and personification. Have you read Rules of Civility and Gentleman From Moscow? I think you’d enjoy them.

    Please keep your delightful stories coming; they make my life richer. Hugs to you, my brilliant friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful comment, Bobbi. Thank you; I’m really touched. And I love that it triggered the author/book recommendations. I just looked them up and he/they sound great. I’ve added them to my book list. Thank you!

      And thank you for your consistent support and encouragement. Given that this is such a new experience for me, it means a lot.

      Big hugs, and I’m so happy with all the good going on in your life right now.


      1. Marie Schrader

        Your writing is engaging, thought provoking, and so descriptive that it brings the reader with you! Have you ever thought of writing short stories? I think you would be wonderful at it!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I appreciate the compliments and encouragement. My blog has included a couple of fictional pieces and they were fun. I’ll have to think more on the idea of short stories. Thanks for the nudge!


  2. This is a wonderful reflection on the dichotomy of power source/power use and the aesthetics thereof. Be assured that buildings are the number-one passive killers of bird. Wind turbines don’t even come close. I, too, have observed these behemoths and come to similar conclusions. I like their artistry when they’re in motion, especially.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool post! I love learning that it’s all the buildings out there that are silent killers. It reminded me of the large bird that smashed clear through the kitchen window one day and landed, dead, in the spot my mom had been standing in a minute earlier. Deadly window.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They’re great.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Michele Perry

    They have a lot of them on the out-skirts of Plam Springs and they actually do tours of them. My parents went on a windmill tour. They said it was very interesting.
    I like them when they are not ruining a beautiful view. It is like solar panels. It is great when they use them in parking lots.
    It is funny…. I always think they should cover the empty space of Nevada with Windmills and Solar.
    I enjoy your writings . 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny you suggested Nevada for windmills and solar. I think that state just rejected a project that was planning to do just that!

      I image a tour would be interesting. Lots of engineering marvels in their design and construction. Thanks for reading and letting me know you enjoy things.


  4. deborahbutterfield

    I love this! And I would have had the same reaction. I have heard a couple things about windmills I’d like to share: one person was very upset about placement of windmills in Wyoming, and she spoke of the amazing amount of concrete it took to secure them. And with regard to the number of birds they kill: it is dwarfed by the number of birds killed by pollution.

    Thanks for another wonderful piece!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and replying. I enjoy seeing which of my posts resonate and it’s fun when people comment, as it adds to the connection I feel with folks.

      Apparently with regards to birds, we humans have created multiple ways in which to kill them. Ownership of pet cats that go outside is, no doubt, yet one of the ways. And, as noted by another commenter, buildings wreck their own havoc!


      1. deborahbutterfield

        As to pet cats: apparently, if we didn’t have pet cats, we would be overrun with rats. I think that there’s a natural predatory chain – every animal has a “keystone” predator that keeps its population in check. The circle is complete because the smallest organism (viruses and bacteria) could keep the human population in check, absent medicines. In addition, I’ve come to realize that (wo)man is his/her own keystone predator because humans prey upon each other – although not for the eating/survival reasons other predators do.

        Liked by 1 person

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