Mixed Emotions

The drive from northern Indiana down I-65S is familiar territory for me - I made the trip many times during my college years to get from home to Franklin. To be honest, the trip is pretty uneventful...cornfields pretty much the whole way. Within the past year there has been a new addition to the scenery that I just can't make my mind up about - the windmill farms.

Apparently farmers have sold pieces of their land to make room for these towering windmills, and our present/future move as a nation toward more renewable energy sources. Each time I've driven past them, I feel very torn. On the one hand, it is wonderful that we are moving away from the use of fossil fuels toward things like wind and solar energy. We need to do this. And as we do it, the windmills have to be somewhere.

Nonetheless, its painful to see how they interrupt what has been the same for generations. For so long we've looked out over the area and seen nothing but flat fields all the way to the horizon - now there are hundreds of towering specters as far as the eye can see. At night it was completely black except for the stars on a clear night - now there are hundreds of red blinking lights to keep any planes from hitting the windmills. Something about all this feels unnatural and icky, and yet utilizing wind energy is such a positive thing.

So, I find myself torn. I suppose it is yet another thing where we live to learn in the tension rather than assigning a clear black and white, good or bad category. I drove past them again this weekend for my 5-year college reunion (where has time gone?), and the tension was renewed for me.

If y'all have any thoughts please share.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I've seen so much of the farmland I grew up with -- some belonging to my close friends and relatives -- parceled out over the years. For cell phone towers. For industrial parks (many of which now sit empty). For cookie-cutter subdivisions. (That last was the most painful, to see houses in the mid-90s spring up all around my grandparents' little house on the land that had been farmed by my grandma's family for generations.) I understand why it's done and I don't blame the struggling farmers, but it's still sad to see traditions gone. I guess I see wind farms as preferable to the vinyl villages that, in my grandparents' neighbors' case, already has begun to be abandoned for newer, shinier vinyl villages -- at least they're a positive change. Obviously I have many feeling on this topic, and I hope we can discuss in person sometime. I'm happy you made the drive, in any case. :)

  2. Oddly enough, I was just talking about all of this with Matt and my friend, Eryn. We were driving down 80 to Colorado, and they were everywhere there too. I feel just as torn, the wind power is great, but the farming is necessary too. We also pondered the cost of energy put into building each of those windmills. We saw six, yes six, semis hauling pieces of one windmill. What type of energy is keeping the blinking lights going? They are all lit at the bottom entryway as well. How much energy does that take up?

    Again, I was also thinking along the lines of Angie Mapes (I don't know her new last name) and how farms and open land are being used for house after house and strip malls that are vacant. All of this is really something to ponder.