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.