Monday, July 28, 2003

Power Lines

Saturday I was on my way to Melbourne on Hwy 192 and about half way there got stuck waiting for the police to clear an accident scene. It was 1 pm. Traffic was stopped in both directions and since I had to go to Melbourne, I waited. And waited. It was a little cooler than usual because there was rain in the area. Lightning was flashing in the distance and the thunder rumbled after about 15 or 20 seconds. I thought I heard a weird buzzing sound so I turned off the radio and sure enough there was a constant buzzing coming from the high voltage power lines that lined the road. I've never heard wires make that sound before unless there was a problem and they were shorting or arcing. They were on the other side of the road and I didn't see anything wrong with them so maybe it's normal for those lines. I waited some more and debated turning back but I was supposed to be there by 2 pm. Before long it was 2 and there was no sign of getting this accident cleared. I thought to wait some more and get there late. My attention went back to the power lines. They were making me a little nervous. I noticed everytime lightning flashed the buzzing stopped. It was kind of bizarre standing in the middle of the road where you would never stop in a million years, lightning flashing, thunder rumbling. People had been getting out of their cars and walking back and forth from the scene of the accident, I resisted the urge, but I could see it from the car. I wondered where the power lines came from and where they went. What was happening to cut the power flow for those split seconds and what was the effect at the end of the line. And how fast the electricity went through the lines, I suppose nearly the speed of light. At 2:30 I turned around and went home. There was still no sign of the road clearing and by the time I got to Melbourne the meeting would be over. Thought for the day: Electricity is awesome and beautiful, power lines are ugly.

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