Luskin: Towers

Print More

For years, novelist, essayist and educator Deborah Lee Luskin has been
listening to her neighbors complain about the near total lack of cell
service in her town; now that there are proposals to bring two towers to
Newfane, she’s been listening to neighbors complain about what they’ll
look like.

(Luskin)I own a smart phone, and I use it for all
sorts of things, from snapping photos to playing solitaire as well as
for texting my kids, finding directions, checking email – and when I
have service – even making phone calls. My cell is also my business
phone, which I use from my home office. Even though there’s no cell
service outside my house, I have service inside thanks to a microcell
booster, a small appliance that uses a combination of our DSL
connection, our wireless network, and GPS, to route calls via a

Aside from being able to use my cell phone for work,
one of the best things about this arrangement is that it also allows my
children to use their phones when they’re home. Before we had this
service, their friends would start calling on the landline just about
the time Tim and I go to bed. Kids.

Well, mine are now all in
their twenties. And they’ve all come of age with cell phones. They’ve
also signed leases and paid utility bills for apartments they’ve rented,
but none of them has ever owned a landline. Unless they settle in
Vermont, it’s unlikely any of them ever will.

There’s very
little cell service in the town where I live. To have service, we need
towers. And there are currently proposals for two, but both have met
with opposition. Everyone wants service, but no one wants towers.

wonder if there was similar opposition to telephone poles back in the
thirties, when electricity was first brought up the valley? Now, they
just seem part of the landscape. And what about the wide swaths where
high voltage towers cut across the hills? I pass such a cut every time I
drive into town, but I hardly notice it anymore. More often, what I
notice are grazing deer.

I wonder if the same wouldn’t happen
with windmills, which I find much more attractive than the power lines
and industrial steel girders I’ve grown used to. I would favor the
strategic placement of windmills as a happy alternative to Vermont
Yankee. In fact, I favor the kind of decentralized, small generation
concept that’s prevalent throughout Germany – even though it would mean
more windmills, more solar panels, more change.

Maybe such
visual evidence of how our electricity is generated could help remind us
to use it more wisely. Or maybe we’d just get used to seeing the
turbines spin in the wind.

It seems to me that often, we humans
are hard-wired to resist change – at first. Certainly, whenever a new
building goes up – or an old one washes away in a flood – it takes a
while to adjust.

But inevitably, we do.

Comments are closed.