Wind Driven

In silhouette
In silhouette

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

A stormy day on Washington's Palouse
A stormy day on Washington’s Palouse
Wind driven
Wind driven
Along the way
Along the way

 

 

The Palouse region of Washington is one of my favorite places
The Palouse region of Washington is one of my favorite places
Storm clouds and turbines
Storm clouds and turbines

 

 

5 thoughts on “Wind Driven

  • April 15, 2013 at 11:31 am
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    When I first drove across Kansas, I thought “If the Palouse is so beautiful, the Kansas will be so much more so, right? Because that’s what Little House on the Prairie says it’ll be.” But nothing is as beautiful as the Palouse.
    The first time I drove through a forest of Wind Farms, it was on the flat road from Chicago to Indianapolis, in the fog. It was very eerie.

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  • April 15, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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    I never get tired of he Palouse. It never bores me. I think the first wind farm I saw was in Alberta as we drove across the Crows Nest Highway. It fascinated me then, too. Thanks for your comment, Andrew.

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  • April 15, 2013 at 12:35 pm
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    Renae, your words were incredibly beautiful. You have a way of bringing a picture to life. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

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    • April 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm
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      Thanks, Diane. You know I love using my iPhone and iPad for picture taking! I appreciate your kind words.

      Reply
  • April 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm
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    I drive the Palouse region many times throughout the year and I am never bored with the sweeping views. A few years back when I was considering a substantial move, I actually cried as I drove along HWY 195, knowing how much I would miss this lovely countryside. In addition to the scenery, it is delightful to drive along a country road that plops you into a perfect little Palouse town that you would never imagine existed. The Palouse region is full of those little places.

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I'd love to hear your perspective.