Wind towers above the treetops

To the Editor:

If only the mountains could speak, perhaps we would listen ...

A couple of weeks ago I was heading south from Barton on I-91. As I neared Sheffield Heights, I saw something incredible: a number of mammoth wind turbine towers, rising well above the treetops. I knew they were being built and how big they were going to be. However, seeing them in person added markedly to the revulsion I had previously felt about such a project. These horrendously huge wind turbines are not quaint, little Dutch windmills. And they are not the right solution to Vermont's energy problems.

I am in no way opposed to alternative solutions to our energy needs. I applaud those who are devising and implementing ways (such as solar power) to reduce our carbon footprint. Solar makes much more sense. But I am opposed to anything which affects the environment and aesthetics of our ridge lines and anything that will have a negative impact on birds, bats, bears and other wildlife. Industrial-sized wind farms on the ridge lines of Vermont will negatively affect the environment, aesthetics and wildlife.

In Alexander Pope's 1709 An Essay on Criticism, he wrote, "A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring" -- meaning a small amount of knowledge can mislead people into thinking that they are more expert than they really are. Over the past few years, I have been open to listen to both sides and do some research. I can only conclude that the building of industrial-sized wind farms on our beautiful ridge lines is not the way to go.

When I first saw the Sheffield wind towers, I started thinking about "In Flanders Fields," a poem I first read in junior high school. The poem begins with "In Flanders Fields the poppies blow." This line came into my head: In Vermont hills the wind turbines blow. I added to it later, producing the following poem:

In Vermont hills the wind turbines blow

atop each mountain, row on row,

they mark their place; and in the sky

the hawks, still bravely drifting, fly

scarcely heard amid the din below.

The hills are dying. Short days ago

and in every dawn and sunset glow,

they were loved, and now they lie

in windswept graves.

Let us take up their struggle with the foe:

To you from failing hands the hills throw

the torch; let it be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with mountains as they die

there'll be no sleep as wind towers so

capture our Vermont hills.

Jerry Johnson

Albany, Vt.

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