West of Fort Macleod, where Highway 3
twists through the Foothills toward the Crowsnest Pass
row upon row of huge metal pillars
have been erected on the ridgelines, or rise individually
in a hay meadow or ploughed field: each column
topped with three immense blades
of a spinning propeller easily a third as large
as the shafts hoisting them into the air.
Official sources declare these are industrial windmills
for generating electricity. But nowhere is a power switchyard
or transmission tower visible.
Perhaps these twirling structures
are a clandestine regional project to draw moist Pacific clouds
inland across the Rockies, a scheme designed to end
years of drought in this area
where the irrigation reservoirs are empty by summer
and the rivercourses are at best thin creeks, if not muddy patches
at the bottom of the coulees.
Or maybe the devices
are an attempt to ameliorate a so-far-secret effect
of the warming biosphere: the slowing of the planet’s rotation
as its atmosphere thickens with carbon dioxide, methane, fluorocarbons.
The resultant increase in the lengths of day and night
is predicted to impair crop growth
in every climate. Rather than alarm the population, governments
have constructed in out-of-the-way corners
these revolving propellers designed to pull the Earth forward
to stabilize its rate of turning:
pacemakers for an ailing world.