Posted tagged ‘wind energy’

Butterflies and Windmills

June 24, 2011

Wind turbines would not win any beauty contests. Only an inhabitant of the Isle of Man would marvel at the triskelion structure of a wind-powered device. These tripod monstrosities are housed in wind farms. There are no sheep on wind farms. Or cows. Or chickens. Just rows upon rows of rejects from War Of The Worlds.

In contrast there is aesthetic beauty in windmills. These wind-driven pieces of architectural splendour have been around since antiquity. Like an overflowing rubbish skip in the road, nobody walks past a windmill without having a look. Sonnets, TV dramas and operas have been written about windmills. The artistically named, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), wrote a piece about a windmill, unimaginatively titled: The Windmill.

I stand here in my place,
With my foot on the rock below,
And whichever way it may blow
I meet it face to face,
As a brave man meets his foe.

And while we wrestle and strive
My master, the miller, stands
And feeds me with his hands;
For he knows who makes him thrive,
Who makes him lord of lands.

The land of the windmills is the Netherlands and was a popular subject for the mad Dutchman, Vincent Van Gogh. The painter depicted a prodigious amount of work on this object as it was part and parcel of the lowlands scenery. A windmill was a common fixture in the Dutch landscape though today this is now decreasing.

Although windmills are gasping for air, will anyone write a poem about a wind farm? Will there be a soap opera commissioned called Wind Turbine farm? Apart from the decorator, will anyone paint a wind turbine? I think not. Only Windmills have the power to captivate the cultural set.

In the course of writing this essay I have been knocked over by the sway of wind. Wind is definitely my favourite meteorological phenomena.