While riding past the Wanapum Dam, I see/hear a conglomeration of energy towers buzzing in the language of hydroelectricity. Having past hundreds of power lines on this trip, I was no stranger to the sound of electric current — but I’d never heard anything like this. It was like an omnipresent pitter-patter of rain mixed with the sizzles of a choir of cast iron skillets. It was getting in my ear almost as if I had tinnitus. The recording doesn’t do it justice so I added some granular delay to make it feel like more of an internal listening experience.
Researching a bit, I found out that Columbia River power plants are among the biggest producers of hydroelectricity in the United States. And get this: much of the hydroelectric power produced here in the Pacific Northwest goes to California consumers (eia.gov 2014). So this electricity is taking the same migratory path as the monarchs. Message to the utility companies: “We’re turning your power line land into pollinator waystations. Thanks!”