On my recent photography foray, I drove out to the country to find some interesting subject material. As I was taking photos, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the giant turbines dotting the industrial agricultural landscape. The way they rise up from the barren land is quite something. As I snapped unrelated photos, I was stricken by the whirring vortex of their blades, pulling me in. Even with my back turned, they still had an impact as I could hear the noise of their spin even at a distance of a kilometer or so. It was a strange grinding pulsation of sorts. I got back in my car and headed for the next subject. I passed a long plowed drive, leading to the base of a turbine. I drove past. Feeling compelled for some reason to investigate further, I pulled over to the side of the road, and turned the car around.
Heading down the narrow corridor of a driveway carved in the snow, I stopped at this puddle. I had the feeling that I shouldn’t be there. Not only that, but I surely did not want to get stuck out here by myself. I got out of the car and took the above photograph. The whir of curiosity was now beckoning stronger. I stuck a toe in the puddle, and deemed it only a few inches deep, thereby passable by car. I drove on, around a bend, and stopped where other vehicles had before, based on visible tire marks in the mud.
I grabbed my camera and stepped out of the car. I looked up. I gulped. I really had not expected this. The turbine TOWERED above my head. I felt so very small. The visceral power generated by this structure was intense. The blades were pulsing down toward my car and I. I was afraid. Not that, ‘I think something bad might happen’ type of mental fear, but a guttural fear. A feeling of ‘get me out of here, NOW!’ The whirring was intense, vibrating my innards. I took a deep breath, put the camera to my eye and pointed it up. I captured the following shot.
With my heart racing, and my hands shaking, I clambered back into my car. I didn’t want to back up down the long driveway and through the puddle. In my ‘fight or flight’ state, I didn’t take time to think before acting. I pulled forward onto what looked like fresh dirt and gravel. Being that we’re in the middle of a thaw, I thought all tire tracks had dissipated with the snow. I pulled forward and to the right to turn the vehicle around. As I wheeled it around, now quite close to the base of the turbine, I felt the tires relax against the gravel. My panic started to thicken. I reassured myself. Thoughts of ‘I’m going to be stuck here, under this turbine’ still took hold. My tires were spinning like the turbine blades. I backed the car up slightly, turned the wheel hard left and gave a few good thrusts on the gas pedal, easing my car out of the deeper gravel. With focused intensity I got myself heading in the direction of home. I shook, inside and out the whole way.
Rob and the children were at the end of the driveway when I got home, having just picked up the mail. Upon parking up the car, Rob asked what had happened to the car. Thinking he was perhaps referring to the mud I had sprayed up the side in my efforts to free myself from the turbine’s grip, I claimed to know. After getting out of the car, I realized I had dislodged part of the wheel well in my efforts to plow through the gravel pit. In my effort to hurry home, I drove despite the grinding whir of my own vehicle. The plastic wheel casing is now damaged, and will need to be replaced since Rob had to cut half of it off this morning in order to get himself to work.
I wanted to have shared the experience with someone, to have my experience fully understood by another, because I will never go back to the base of a turbine. Human efforts to harness the power of nature are just plain scary.