A swiftly tilting windmill

I left my home state, and entered a land of low, rolling hills with a smattering of windmills sweeping down the plain along the highway.  Was I in middle America, or La Mancha?  I didn’t see a knight-errant rushing the windmills, and the turbines had a decidedly modern design.  It was safe to assume I had not traveled from Texas to Spain, but it was fun to imagine the jump.  If I reference Cervantes, many people assume I am asking for a beer in Spanish.  They would be wrong.  Fortunately, I don’t cite to Cervantes often, and if I want a cerveza I know how to get one.

In choosing to travel almost every month this year, sometimes I wonder if I am tilting at windmills.  To define the idiom, am I fighting imaginary enemies?  Don Quixote took the direct route in his fight by attacking hulking giants to obtain fortune and rid the world of scourge.  My fight would be more passive aggressive in the form of running away from problems or avoiding issues by not living in a stationary or consistent location.  I think about this every time I leave my home base.  Mainly because I want to avoid such avoidance.  Got it?  Good.

But, what would I be running away from?  What or who is my imaginary enemy?  I have an amazingly supportive set of parents, who know that if anything went wrong at home, I’d drive back in a heartbeat.  I am growing my own law firm very slowly, and contract on the side to supplement my income.  As I travel, I work during the day, market my business, check in with my current contacts/clients, and try to develop new contacts/clients.  Some locations I choose purely based on developing business.  Zoom into my current location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  I bring my dog Magnolia with me, so I am not abandoning my responsibilities.  And due to this blog, I often dissect my choices, behavior, attitude and experiences in a rather detailed way and attempt to grow from my observations and analysis.  As far as introspection goes, I think a lot.

Perhaps, like Don Quixote, my nemesis is incorrectly perceived.  Because, if anything, I’m perpetuating a tradeoff – the benefit of this trade off being the experiences I gain through my travels and the people I meet, and the detriment being a segmentation of my personal life.  I don’t see my friends very often, sometimes I am lonely in my new places, and I can’t maintain a normal/traditional romantic relationship.  Did I mention I’m 34 years old?  These factors are important to my life stage and personal development!  But Cervantes teaches an imperative lesson: we may not be able to control what happens to us, but we can control how we perceive it.  True friends stick around.  Loneliness is ephemeral.  And I have a pen pal who I’ve been texting with for a few months who is similarly (temporarily) distracted from a “normal” relationship.  We’ll see what happens.

I arrived in Oklahoma not knowing exactly what to expect, and as I crossed the state border and passed a few casinos, it was windmills that caught my attention and imagination.  My first reaction was quixotic (literally), but then the metallic and modern nature of the structures invaded my musings.  Windmills have long been used on farms to pump water, and progressed over the years in technology and functionality to generate energy.  How do wind turbines work?  Wind turns the propeller-like blades around a rotor, which is attached to the main shaft, and the main shaft spins a generator to create energy.  Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, and California are ranked as having the most installed wind capacity in the country.  Although Oklahoma does not lead the pack in harnessing the wind, the alternative energy source accounts for a whopping 25% of in-state energy production.  This means that Oklahoma wind powered the equivalent of 1.8 million homes.

It’s time to ask the most annoying question in this post: are windmills tilting at windmills?  I’m an oil and gas attorney, so I appreciate that the enemy being fought against here is my bread and butter.  I’ve looked at websites on both sides of the argument, and I have to admit that I don’t know the answer.  Would I want a loud, unattractive wind turbine in my backyard?  No.  Do I see environmental, fiscal and even political benefits to diversifying energy production in this country?  Absolutely; even though it is against my personal pecuniary interest.  I support striving to better society and the exploration of new ideas.  Just because the development of wind as energy may not be perfectly executed does not exclude it as a journey worth exploring.  Pursuit of an idealistic journey can be key to scientific discovery (Cue: The Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha).

As the planet swiftly tilts, I’m looking out the window and thinking about where I am now, and where I’m going next.  I don’t have a star watching rock, and I’m not led on my journey by a winged unicorn (I wish).  The only instances in which I feel like I’m traveling through time is when my cell phone runs out of battery or when a storm knocks out the power.  But in my travels, I am moving forward with my stalwart companion Magnolia, and we are using the time we have on this journey with eyes open.  It is possible that my idealistic justifications for my journey are misapplied, and I am chasing a vain or inadequate goal.  However, this works for me.  For now.  It’s good to check in occasionally to make sure this status quo is maintained.

– Your huckleberry

P.S. – I relied on the American Wind Energy Association website as a source about wind energy.  Any errors, omissions, and opinions are mine.

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