It was an unusually peaceful morning on the front porch in Warsaw. It was July 4, a day to celebrate the freedoms our ancestors fought bravely to establish.
We could actually talk without the loud rumbling cement and gravel trucks racing up and down the West Hill to the Orangeville Wind Farm, as Invenergy gave crews a day off. They also gave anyone living on Route 19, Route 20A and Curtis Road/Liberty Street - and the neighbors of the adjoining work sites - a day off.
I recently attended a family gathering at one of the adjoining properties, owned by the Nevinger family in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Over the past 49 years, Mary and Jim transformed that beautiful 50 acres into an awesome retreat from the hectic whirlwind of everyday life.
Their artistic and architectural skills shine as you break over the crest of the hill and head toward their cabin.
A mowed trail leads around the pond to the woods. Jim's hand-crafted bridges carry you over streams. Mary's flower beds decorate the landscape.
At the cabin, the family assembles as it has so many times. Shirley, Dave and Jeff are honoring their parents' 50th wedding anniversary with family portraits made at the family's spiritual center.
All the kids, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are there to honor Mary and Jim and because the place means so much to each of them. As young ones, they remember the fun they had outside the cabin: swimming, canoeing, hunting, fishing, sitting by a bonfire, watching meteor showers on summer nights.
The photographer walks the property looking for just the right spot and returns in awe of the sheer beauty of the place. The perfect spot includes the pond, Mary's flowers, the cabin, the woods in the background, and the family...most importantly, the family and all of the treasured memories of the peace and tranquility of their carved-out piece of paradise.
In the background, the usual sound of birds is replaced by unnatural sounds of gravel trucks dumping their loads for a nearby wind-turbine access road. Truck after truck...and those annoying beeps: ...beep, beep, beep. Then, a thump, thump, thump as machines put gravel down to make the road.
The vibration is felt by some. Not much is said. No one wants to spoil the moment, the hour, the day set aside to honor two people who created this special place. Everyone there knows this is the beginning of the end.
Four 43-story wind machines will tower over their property. Four sets of blinking lights will break up the night's dark sky. There will be constant rumble of blades rotating as they send out vibrations through air and underground.
Mary and Jim did not ask for this. They know they are losing many of the qualities they so dearly love about their home. They know that reduced property taxes will never compensate for all that they are losing.
They know their story represents only one of many in Orangeville. They never asked for this.