Our backyard and the alley behind our house are criss-crossed with power lines, like buntings missing their flags, connecting poles to houses and other poles, linking our house to other houses and garages and the new apartment building on the corner and across streets and more alleys, sometimes departing from their alley routes and running alongside residential streets, where too-tall trees have been pruned ungracefully to accommodate their relentless progress, which eventually connect the houses on my block to a cluster of wires and structures looking like something out of a futuristic model city surrounded by a tall chain link fence on Hiawatha Avenue.
We sometimes sit on our backyard patio on summer evenings looking east, watching clouds turn pink in the evening beyond those criss-crossing lines.
|My drawing of the hapless power pole canister, before it exploded|
Then one July day the thing blew itself up with a loud POP!, allowing nothing more than a curlicue of smoke to escape, leaving it with a jaunty-looking topknot of twisted, blackened wires. It was soon replaced with a shiny new cylinder, with no interruption in power to our home in the interim. This did nothing to diminish its mystery in our minds.
They provide a visual reminder of our connection to points near and far, the relationship of the built to the natural landscape. Even as we sit in our own backyard.