Today’s photo is not going to be the most interesting one you’ll see today. I’m okay with that. For me, though, the view in this photo is one I look forward to every morning. The cut from the power line is the first view of the sky I see each morning. Now that the forest is so dense with summer’s leaves, I can’t see the sky at all until I’ve walked out my driveway and down the lane to reach this cut. In winter, I can see over to Nell’s Hill from my cabin, but this time of year I can only see this little sliver of it through the power line cut.
This power line is what brings electricity to my cabin and to my two neighbors and to Ski Roundtop. Because there’s no road of any kind along our power line, I am very subject to losing power because some tree, of which there are thousands, between here and Nell’s Hill has fallen on it. In winter, when there’s snow or ice, even getting to the troubled spot can take hours, let alone clearing the trouble once it’s found. Even in summer, especially at night, I pretty much know nothing is going to be done until daylight. The only vehicles that can reach much of the line are those little maintenance vehicles called ‘Gators, which are kind of like overgrown golf carts.
It's not much of a stretch to say that my power hangs by a thread. Or more precisely, by two threads. Perhaps it's because of this that I am overly sensitive to just how dependent the whole of our modern civilization is on things that are as fragile as two thin wires trailing through a mile or so of forest.
For me, so much of it feels intensely personal. Whenever a grocery store relies on apples shipped in from Guatemala, say, we are relying on the use of oil to get them here. Whenever a factory moves to China, we are relying on oil to be there to ship it across the ocean. What will happen to us when the thread breaks? You know it will break. It always does, eventually. And the result will be far worse than just a night or two without power.