Tilting at Windmills

September 24, 2009

Wind farm near Ellensburg, Washington

Wind farm near Ellensburg, Washington

Harvesting wind energy

Harvesting wind energy

Puget Sound Energy, our public utility, owns this wind farm off the Old Vantage Highway near Ellensburg.  An article in Sunday’s Seattle Times says that the demand for Northwest wind energy will be especially high because of California’s new mandate to get one-third of its energy from green sources by the year 2020.  And California will be buying much of this energy from the Northwest.

I cannot help but think of Cervantes’ Don Quixote whenever I see windmills.  His exploits tilting at windmills are a metaphor for fighting unwinnable battles:

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, “Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.” “What giants?” asked Sancho Panza.

 “Those you see over there,” replied his master, “with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length.”

 “Take care, sir,” cried Sancho. “Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone.”






2 Responses to “Tilting at Windmills”

  1. Lynne Says:

    Modern wind farms lend the landscape a somewhat surreal – though beautiful – look, to my eye. For another artist’s watercolor interpretations, people in Seattle might like to visit Cathy Tuttle’s exhibit of windmills and icebergs at Mosaic Community Coffee House in Wallingford, 4401 2nd Ave. N.E.

  2. Lisalynn Says:

    I just have to say, I am proud my husband helped build those wind towers and I wish that our country would use wind energy more and more!

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