A curvature-of-the-Earth-matching flatness in across the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah makes the repeating geometry of human-made structures hypnotically visible.
Crossing the American West last winter, I was struck by the profound changes to the landscape affected by large-scale infrastructure programs. Rural electrification resulted in an expectation of electrical availability, and power lines now stretch to the horizon.
In much the same way, lines of Interstate highway curve off to the distance, twinned East and West streams.
Along Interstate 80, stretches of winter Wyoming are wide and barren like I wouldn’t have believed.
In a few stretches, mountains or wind farms crop up in the distance.
But it’s perhaps this image of an orange house, like something from a mid-twentieth-century landscape painting, that best captures the experience.
The empty, remote bits of Vermont have a strangely sinister feeling as the first rumbles of thunder pass overhead and the sky turns that almost-yellow color. The whole world is empty, with not a trace of humans but for a gravel road and the lonely power lines. In a way, it’s astonishing that power is supplied to so much of the country this way.