Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Blots on the landscape

In our town, people keep complaining about the beautiful revolving fans that have appeared up here on the hills in recent years. They are said to be an eyesore, and to be sending out a low noise that can not be heard but it makes us sick. Worst of all, it is claimed that our property values are being debased by their presence.

I really don't know what the problem is. They make cool breezes for us in the summer, and they are comforting to contemplate as their blades turn gracefully. I understand that as a by-product they generate some electricity, so we don't need to burn as much valuable oil to keep the power coming into our homes.

No, the frequent reports in our news media show that the real trouble is elsewhere. Every day they are tumbling over and crushing our beloved houses and precious cars. I am talking about trees. They are moving in on us like those gnarled monstrosities in The Lord of the Rings. Recently a lot of good folk in my neighbourhood were cut off from their homes by thoughtless trees blocking the road, and they had to get out of their vehicles and walk.

Forests are where ferocious bears and ravenous wolves lurk. In hot weather the trees catch fire and the flames engulf us and our pet animals. Let's cut them down and enjoy the sight of green meadows and lush pasturelands, where useful beasts can graze contentedly.

All my life I have been repeatedly told that money does not grow on trees, and that shows just how useless they are.

That is what I wrote in our local newspaper, about the plethora of electric windmills on the hills. It did not cause an avalanche of passionate responses, but a few people sent txt misivz to the editor. I had hinted that these structures are more stable than timber plants, and will not fall over and wreak havoc, as inconsiderate trees do.

The correspondents in the txt column seemed to say that the main trouble for them was the noise of trucks bringing in the components. Living near the mouth of a dead-end 'tributary' of Summer Hill Drive, which is a very busy thoroughfare, I see and hear endless traffic, emitting noisy explosions and noxious fumes into my space. When we moved here we did not know that a landscape-garden centre would be set up over our back fence, with vibrations that shake our house, as heavy materials are moved about.

However, if I want the benefits of the modern industrial society, including my splendid computer which gives me internet access to the whole world, I have to endure these inconveniences, without crying 'Not in my backyard, thank you'.

I have to admit that trees and windmills are both beautiful, and I think that I shall never see a turbine lovely as a tree, but which is more useful? Certainly, the leafy wooden erection set up by nature has its uses: they say that forests clear the air after it has been polluted by wood burning in hearth fires, and in my lifetime I have seen motor cars fueled by charcoal. But a tree can not create electricity.

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