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Blowing in the Wind
by Walt Giersbach

“Over a sustained period of time, people living too close to wind farms can develop a disorder related to inner ear disruption, Wind Turbine Syndrome, which can cause nervousness, heart disorders, nightmares, problems and even cognitive development issues in children.”
--Dr. Nina Pierpont, M.D. testifying before the New York State Legislature Energy Committee

Yes, we were one of the ten families Dr. Pierpont studied before she wrote her book. I guess we were irritable when the government built the wind turbine in our backyard—even more ill-tempered when Dr. Pierpont walked a shortcut through my wife’s petunias. In fact, my wife suffered an anxiety attack when the TV crews followed her into our bedroom.

We’re a small neighborhood. Smaller now. Eight out of the ten families living on our block have moved. Since I can’t sell our house with a turbine in the backyard, I confessed I’m having nightmares.

“Any sleep disorders, heart disease, panic attacks and headaches?” she asked.

“I’m entertaining the thought,” I agreed, “if I end up defaulting on the mortgage.”

The doctor, a pediatrician, suggested my inner ear was infected with tinnitus, but I told her it was probably my son’s rock and roll. I offered to turn it down.

She waved me off. “The wind industry will try to discredit me, but I can cope with that,” she shouted, standing in the geranium bed on her way out. “This is not unlike the tobacco industry dismissing health issues from smoking.”

Quickly, I hid the cigarette I was going to light.

“Hear that?” she said, startled. “That low frequency vibration and noise? Humans are sensitive—like a fish feeling noise in the water. Wind farms disrupt the inner ear’s vestibular system, responsible for balance and orientation.” At that, she tripped over my rake. “Goddamn, it,” she shouted, “I can feel those blades coming for me. Oh, noooo!”

But the thing that hit her wasn’t a bird. Just the hat from a cameraman who had climbed up the pole for a better shot. My wife and I went inside to make some drinks. Lots of drinks. We blame it on Wind Turbine Syndrome. If we deny ourselves, then the enemies of ecology have won.