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Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts

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electricity

Taken for Granted

stIt’s National Lineman Appreciation Day. After the recent windstorm in western New York and other states to the west of us, this day means a little more. Turning a light on, or the TV, and knowing they are going to work shouldn’t be taken for granted, though I know I am guilty of just that. We expect our power to work at all times, thinking little of how it actually gets to our homes.

“Regardless of the source, the electricity has to be transported by employing transformers and other equipment. Due to the dangerous conditions power poses, safety is of utmost importance for both the lineman and the consumer. When mother nature destroys what our linemen have built up, they are on call to build it back up again as quickly as possible. Even when there is no crisis, they work under dangerous conditions on a daily basis. Whether they are working in trenches, near water or on high towers, the risks are extreme.” (borrowed from the National Day of Calendar)

The windstorm I mentioned above was predicted to have 50 mph winds, but we had gusts over 95 mph which did more damage than expected. Lineman came to help “get the power back on” from many different states and Canada in 20 degree weather. We owe them a big thank you. It was pointed out on the news that they couldn’t work until the downed trees were moved out of their way, which they weren’t allowed to do. For some homes it was a three to five-day wait. And believe me, when the lights came back on, and the heat, people were mighty thankful. We were lucky, our power didn’t go out.

Last week a cat in our local area climbed a power pole and was sitting on top amongst all the wires. The owner called the power company to come rescue her pet and was told it was too dangerous to attempt. That should give a good indication of how dangerous a job these people do. After three days, the cat came down on his own, in the secrecy and quiet of night. It was quite the news story.

Here I sit in front of my computer thinking about the electricity that runs it. I appreciate the linemen that keep my power on.

Natural or Human

It’s National Big Wind Day. This day commemorates the recording of the highest natural wind gust measured on the Earth’s surface. On the afternoon of April 12, 1934, the Mount Washington Observatory recorded winds at 231 miles per hour. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,288 ft, and it is the most prominent mountain east of the Mississippi River.

I can’t imagine the wind blowing at 231 miles an hour. We recently had a wind storm in western New York state that took down lots of trees and power lines and the strongest wind gust was 101 miles an hour. Some people were without power for five days until they got all the lines back up. I think electricity and power is something we currently take for granted in our daily lives. We turn the light on and it works. We boot the computer and communicate with the world any way we choose. It has made the world a smaller place.

I live in an area where windmills have become common scenery. When they were first being erected there was a lot of discourse about whether they were a good thing or not. Some people thought they would ruin the landscape. Personally, I like to sit and watch them turn. I find it mesmerizing and peaceful. There is one I can watch from my sisters kitchen window. We have found it can be noisy and it doesn’t kill birds like people said it would. I haven’t learned about how much energy it creates and if it is performing as they expected.

Another type of wind is human natural gas. You know the type, the sound you try not to make when anyone is around. When my grandson was little, and staying the night with us, he was in one room and one of us (I won’t divulge which grandparent) was in the other room when a “big wind” was let loose. My grandson, in his childish voice exclaimed, “Wow,” as if it were a two syllable word. Now, when a loud noise happens, we emulate the way he spoke that day and marvel at the innocence of youth wishing we all still younger.

Big wind can be defined different ways. My conclusion is that the type that brings relief to the body, and the one that makes energy to run out daily lives are good ones, but too strong a wind outside, can be destructive. May you not have to deal with a destructive big wind.

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