After a couple days visiting with my daughter’s fiancé in the hospital (treated and released by now, thankfully) I drove home from Moscow, Idaho through some of the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen, the Palouse region of eastern Washington State. I’ve driven it many times over the course of my daughter’s college years at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and I never tire of the serene rolling hills unique to this area.
The Palouse is marked by hill after rolling hill that has been cultivated for over one hundred years. The deep, rich top soil is ideal for dry-land farming of wheat, barley, lentils and canola. The scene is ever changing. The beauty of the vista is not dependent upon season here, as every sort of sky perfectly complements the patchwork of fields stretched out before you, whether in cultivation, under harvest or lying fallow. In the winter the snow sweeps across the hills turning the scene into a white-on-white landscape, interrupted by the occasional tree or abandoned outbuilding. In spring the hills green at various times and in a myriad of hues according to the art and science of farming. In late summer the ripening wheat bends and ripples like a beautiful sea of grass, first bright as it bends in one direction, then taking on a silver hue as the light hits it just so when the shifting breeze bends it another. Late summer and then fall is a time for brilliant sunsets as the dust and chaff from the harvesters fill the air and the wind carries it high overhead.
On this drive, heading north on US 195 from the Pullman/Moscow area, I was traveling in the magic time of late afternoon. The sun followed me and played hide and seek through the swiftly moving, broken cloud cover. The partly cloudy sky added another layer of light and shadow to the patchwork of the Palouse. Then I saw the wind farm. The impossibly large wind turbines turned lazily against the stormy sky. In one direction the white of the machines reflecting back sunlight against the black of the clouds. In another, giants were silhouetted against the sun and the shifting clouds. I’m never without my iPhone and love taking pictures of the Palouse.
I even managed to capture the beauty of the wind and the turning in a short video. WindDriven.mov