Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Alternative energy

Slash pile and solar panels, Ewing Township

I wonder...when we cut trees and cover vast areas with lawn to make way for solar panels; when we cut endless access roads through deserts and grasslands and erect windmills; when we place yet more windmills in the ocean along migratory bird routes...where, imagine, imagine, on one autumn night thousands of birds with names like scarlet tanager, redstart, and veery might course by. Plumages of gold, red, and ebony.

Yes, but aren't we saving trees ultimately? Declaring independence from foreign oil? Aren't those deserts uninhabitable? void? barren? Aren't they becoming productive?

I won't argue on behalf of tiny flowers and lizards that thread their way through deserts, nor the trees that house caterpillars and birds, nor the seas that we humans gaze across, looking deep, deep, out across the horizon, seemingly pure, unsullied, perhaps the only place that seems so these days...listening, listening, beyond the shouts of children running on hot sand and parents yelling, YOU forgot the cooler, ice cream trucks, the #3 Billboard hit of summer 2011... listening, listening out beyond where swimmers dare and lifeguard whistles blow:

whump, whump, not the diving of dolphins, whump, whump, not the tails of whales, whump, whump, not the darting of sharks, whump, whump, not the wings of loons, whump, whump, not the propeller of an airplane dragging a message--$2 beers at Crabby Crab Shack--across the glittering sky, whump, whump, miles long mindmills chopping the air bringing us, whump, whump, internet access, whump, whump, iPhone charger, whump, whump, 40% post-consumer copier paper, whump, whump, windmills chopping the air, whump, whump, 30,000 life guard whistles Made in China, whump, whump, pizzeria napkins floating on the wind like ibis feathers, whump, whump, another mile of windmills where a man used to gaze out beyond and imagine a quiet and lonely life, whump, whump, 30,000 waxed cups for Italian ice, whump, whump, round and round go the windmills.

imagine, imagine, whump, whump, a shovel turning turf under to make way for wildflowers, whump, whump, bare feet in a mud puddle, whump, whump, rotten tomatoes hitting the weedy garden bed, whump, whump, picking dandelions.

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