Confessions of a “Windmill Hog” (a One-Shot Story)

By Dave Powell

Yes, I confess. I’m a “Windmill Hog.”

I learned this sad truth when Kate and I took a tour of the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in August, ‎2005. One of our first stops was the windmills at Kinderdijk. Built from 1738 to 1740, this concentration of nineteen old and unique Dutch mills has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. To keep surrounding lands dry, the mills pumped water into reservoirs, which drained through locks back into the river Lek. Some of the mills still do.

They line one bank of their reservoir like pearls on a necklace, and a walking path on the opposite bank gives visitors grand views of each. A few friends from our hometown were also on the tour, and I offered to help them take infrared photos of the windmills with their own digital cameras. One of them… “Jack”… said yes.

So when we came to the “Molen” pictured above, he and I walked out to the pier overlooking it. I put my Minolta Dimage S-414 camera on a tripod, took an IR, then transferred Jack’s camera to the tripod, held my bandpass filter in front of his lens, and let him shoot a few.

It didn’t really take long. Jack’s wife and Kate had stayed back on the walking path to watch. But two women also stopped, watched, and one of them then announced:

“That’s the windmill I want… But those two men are hogging it!”

Jack and I were too far away to hear. But Kate almost doubled over in hysterics.

She’s gotten a lot of mileage from that fond memory over the years… reminding me every so often that I’m a freakin’ “Windmill Hog.”

–Dave Powell is a Westford, Mass., writer and avid amateur photographer.

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About The Author

By Dave Powell
Trained in mathematics, physics, cosmology, computer programming and science journalism. Retired mathematician, award-winning technical and journalistic writer. 1989 winner of the Bruce B. Howat Award-- an international business-journalism equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. (Only one Howat was awarded each year, IF the committee in Geneva found an article they really liked. But I don't think the prize is granted anymore.) Also a past author and editorial advisor for Sesame Street... where I regularly worked with Jim Henson and Kermit!
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