I used to have these meltdowns when I passed smokestacks and powerplants … feeling in my soul what I imagined was happening to the ozone layer and letting my whole day be ruined, tainted, stained by the steaming smoking air outside my car … angry at myself for even driving a car, for putting out smog and using gas myself … and God-knows-what factories that made all the pieces to my Honda, let alone the ones that wove the cloth of my clothing or mixed the chemic hues of my makeup. It was all kinds of ironies, hypocrisy — an eco-existential crisis. What do I do? I never knew.

Today I took 680 over the Benicia bridge, flanked on both sides by these massive metal cities of towers round and square, some just sitting and some spewing stuff out and up into the air. I’ve made this drive before and had this crisis, that crisis. And today I cringed a little — I can’t help it, because I know things; I know the air is worse and fish are dying and it’s not for no reason that people seem to be getting cancer more and more and more — but then I kept looking. I handed my phone to my brother: “Take pictures for me!” It was so much, so lovely; so many pipes and lights and ladders and — Where do they go? What are they there for? What’s in that thing? Why is that blinking? Is someone working in there? — so much to think on and wonder about and so much to walk around, maybe, if you were there among and in it.

On the way back it was dark and I drove under the speed limit to be by them longer, to look at them more. The smoke and steam stood out against the night sky, and the lights clung to the towers like some weird version of Christmas. A holiday, a celebration.

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