Monday, 21 July 2008
Everyday, it seemed, he'd see the turbine.
Whether gazing from the backseat of his father's Ford Mondeo, or when his mother took him for a walk across the sand dunes; there, spinning away in the distance, would be the wind turbine.
On some days it barely moved. John would sit and watch it while his brother played football on the beach; watch as it tried to complete its rotation, heaving and grunting its way around the clockface.
It was so far away yet he could tell it was huge, a giant gleaming windmill slicing the clouds. He called it a windmill, though he knew it wasn't. His father had corrected him on that score: "It's a turbine, it's not a mill," he would chide him. "Haven't they taught you about mills and industry at school yet?"
Apparently when the wind blew strongly, the turbine span and produced electricity which could then be harnessed and used. His mother thought it a little strange he be so fascinated by what she considered to be a man-made blot on an otherwise attractive natural landscape. But John saw only magic where she saw mechanics.
That this unseen force could blow in across the sea and cause those massive rotor blades to creak to life and then spin and spin, ever faster until they were a blur, until they were nearly out of control, like they were threatening to take off, like they were powering some strange futuristic craft.
That this thinnest of nets could reach out and capture the invisible wind, and then transfer it into motion, white light and heat; this was the strangest of childhood magics to John, and he could happily watch its hypnotic dance all day.