I look out across my front yard I see an old windmill standing there like
an old friend. Yesterday I watched the sun go down behind it as I
the most incredible sunset that I’ve ever seen…well, except for
pinkish-purple one last week with the storm clouds above it and maybe
bright orange one the other day. All right, I admit it would be
impossible to choose the most beautiful sunset because
one is unique but some are more impressive than others.
sunsets of the Midwest are incredible and as a backdrop the windmill
from our house makes a beautiful sight. When it comes to nature’s
true that some of the best things in life are free and colorful sunsets
themselves almost every evening for us to enjoy.
as a child, I used to climb up on an old board fence beside our barn
a better view of the sunset and I was never disappointed. I still
and many evenings I have the privilege of watching the sun
behind the old windmill that stands next to where I now live.
this great country we live in, we still see these old windmills that
put there by our predecessors. In this area, many have been
because water is now accessible in other ways but when
land was first settled, one of the main concerns was water.
early pioneers who settled the land needed a source of water
if they didn’t live close to a spring or a stream, water was a problem
so they began to dig wells. However, it was difficult to bring up
water with just a rope and a bucket, especially
it came to watering livestock.
pragmatic pioneers often had to use what was available to them.
shows that many of the early pioneers built sod houses when the
earth they walked upon was the only material they had to
themselves a shelter for safety from the elements.
same way, our ancestors had to come up with a way
water more readily.
often caused the pioneers a lot of trouble because it brought
it storms and tornadoes. It was sometimes a lot of work just to
things tied down securely. The wind was often their adversary and
usually happens to people is that either they run from or they
their adversary. The early pioneers not only faced their adversary but
harnessed the wind by building windmills to bring up the water
their wells to the surface.
settlers did find the answer to their water problem
as the song says, they literally found the answer “blowing in the wind”.
interesting that what often seems to be an overwhelming obstacle
become the means to survival. Our ancestors persevered in
face of great obstacles.
windmills were made of wood because that was the material available
early settlers. However, these windmills were too big and were not
to withstand the high winds on the plains so they needed constant repair.
of the early windmills had no tails to stabilize them either
their vanes would stay pointed into the wind.
a man named Daniel Halladay invented the first all-metal windmill.
windmills that had controls that would turn the vanes away
the wind if the wind became too strong, and it also had brakes
the windmill could be brought to a complete stop.
of the windmills that we see today have the metal blades at the top
if the rest of the windmill is made of wood. You can still see working
around the country, but mostly only where there is no electricity
available or other water supply. In many areas today, the windmill
been abandoned. We see them standing rusty with broken blades but
still stand like stubborn sentinels reminding us of another time.
is something about windmills that have always intrigued me and
wonder why I like them so much. It may be that it is a reminder
past but yet I think it is more than that.
that stands near our house has been there a very long time.
I feel like that windmill, a little battered and rusty with
broken places. There is something about the way the windmill stands
and tall both in peace and in adversity. The windmill accompanies
song of the wind when it blows without complaint and yet, it knows how
still when the wind stops blowing. As I watch the sunset behind the
there are many lessons to be learned both in the stillness and in the storm.
Pamela R. Blaine