We will eventually get over leaving Grand Prairie, but we will never get over having lived there.
My wife and I loved two particular features of the North Dakota landscape – its open vistas and what we came to call its Great Silence, agreeing that our new home would need to be rich in both those qualities. We purchased a farmstead northeast of Valley City, N.D., in Grand Prairie Township.
The vistas were panoramic; the silence was great. My wife observed that the atmosphere of the farmstead had the rare stillness and simplicity of an Edward Hopper painting. The opportunities for great photographs of the farmstead, the wildlife, atmospheric displays and the surrounding landscape were multiplied by the changing seasons. I photographed some 40 species of birds (not counting common ones like sparrows and robins), deer, coyotes, mushrooms and wildflowers, spectacular sunsets and sundogs.
In the evenings the Great Silence descended like a benediction on the farmstead and one’s inner still, small voices could be heard–a mystical pleasure thoroughly extinguished by the later invasion of the wind turbines.
Slight daytime noises nearby can cancel out louder noise at a distance. At night this changes. The 20-decibel nighttime sound levels contrast strongly with the 55-decibel noise of the turbines. The Great Silence was defeated.
We now saw fewer birds, and the wildlife we had so enjoyed no longer came through our yard. Wind farm defenders claim that there is no evidence of an effect on wildlife, other than that of the massive killing of birds and bats –that, in fact, cattle may be seen clustered around the bases of the turbines. It is never mentioned, however, that there is far less noise immediately around the turbines than there is a short distance from them.
At get-togethers of the good people of Grand Prairie, wind turbines – in spite of being the elephants in our living rooms – were never discussed. It became clear to me that, for a variety of reasons, wind turbines were a sore point – some might say a wound – in the life of the community.
Contrary to local speculation, we did not leave solely because of the wind farm. I had injured my back, and the diagnosis indicated that my goal of turning the farmstead into a private park was no longer possible. The possibility of yet another wind farm being installed that would destroy the last open view we had was definitely not encouraging. Our firm conviction that wind farms are a big-government/big-corporation con game based on the hoax of man-made global warming added more than a touch of futile anger.
We are sorry that so much of the under-appreciated beauty of North Dakota has been destroyed in this useless manner. North Dakota is fast becoming the nation’s largest industrial park.
Stillings lives in Valley City, N.D.
When turbine blades rake the sky
As does a headless chicken run and flop
Another thought—What are those stains
We envy birds and how they fly,
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