Thoreau said in Walden, “the silence is something positive and to be heard,” and Rachel Carson said, “it was a spring without voices” in Silent Spring. They seem to be talking to me while I slowly climb the mountain. I can relate to both because, on one hand, I enjoy the silence and the cicadas are singing desperately and too loud, but, on the other hand, I wish to listen the birds sing.
“Do No Block the Gate.”
“Tow Away Zone.”
Trespassing by the side is the only way to go up, bypassing the metal fence gate with five locks. The voices of the cicadas torment me as soon as I start heading up the hill, eyes angled up, viewing two monolithic pole-like structures with large plate antennae hanging in the sky. One is very white and bright and the other looks more daunting and intimidating.
My trusty, leather, Canadian moccasins guide me over the path of irregular pebbles. I feel my feet make a crunchy sound walking over them and pushing them into the ground. I start paying more attention to the tree canopy, and, between the treetops, I see them again…those two huge towers. I have a premonition that this endeavor is not going to be pleasant.
Who’s more powerful, I ask the trees, you guys or these two towers?
I pay more attention on the sides of the path. It’s a winding one, and, after walking for about four minutes, I hear three toots of a horn. I realize that I’m also approaching a highway. The more I walk, the more I notice the traffic in the background. Suddenly, there is a weird humming mixing with the cicadas and the traffic, and soon I see the electrical area in the middle of the two phallic looking towers.
The soundscape changes for the worse. Nature is fighting with the electromagnetic pollution, and I’m caught in the middle. I remember Rachel Carson’s chapter, “Needless Havoc,” and the “shocking destruction of animal life.” I realize that those towers I see going up and the absence of birds on a beautiful fall day, where the sunset would play an important role, is nothing. It does not mean anything without the vibrant sound of Nature. The lack of diversity represents death.
The cicadas are singing along. The humming comes out of the electrical plants that now I see, closer and closer, the promiscuous pairs of these two massive electrical towers. I start feeling more anxious than before, as I stand there, trying to tolerate the ultra high voltage field and its overwhelming power. The fenced-in electric control area is making me too irritable inside. I want to run away, but I stand in the middle of the towers and the plants, overlooking the highway.
I’m wired and suffering inside. My heart skips a beat, and I scream, “please get quiet!” I can’t stand the feeling that the electromagnetic energy produces in me anymore. Add the cars in the background, the cicadas… I’m out of here! But before leaving, I decide to go to the other end. I breathe deeply, trying to find some peace. The farther I walk away in the opposite direction from the towers, the vegetation gets more dense, lush and green. The road ends abruptly.
In the distance, I hear the song of a bird.