Power Walk


About This Painting

Fortnightly Magazine - June 18 2024

Transmission lines and towers are not the subject of poetry and songs. Instead, this infrastructure when proposed becomes the topic of troublesome rhetoric that focuses on the eyesore it is said would mar the landscape.

I have never felt disdain for poles and wires. To the contrary, without them, little flourishes. Without energy, and the means to move it to communities, businesses, and homes, our way of life would be less bright.

A few years back, during a public hearing about a proposed transmission line, one witness after another took the stand to complain about how a project would ruin the character of their town. I listened, and avoided the temptation to challenge the belief that this development would somehow destroy their viewshed.

My perception of transmission towers is largely shaped by the view from my backyard. On the other side of our fence, large metal towers rise to support high-capacity wires that carry energy to the west of my neighborhood. I have lived among them for so long that their presence is barely noticeable.

So, when people complain and say, “not in my backyard,” I find it difficult to commiserate. When I see transmission towers, I see the infrastructure necessary to drive economic opportunity and prosperity. And the energy that makes everyday life easier to enjoy.

The title of this painting is “Power Walk.” It depicts a young couple, my son Justus and Courtney, as they enjoy a stroll along a path just a few blocks from my back door. These transmission towers that line the walkway are clearly visible. But they are indeed an essential part of the landscape.