I'm surprised the legislature hasn't declared the state tree to be the power transmission tower. They seem to be everywhere, no matter where I go. If I don't run across the big, high-volatage kind (click thumbnail), then I'm bound to cross the little, one-pole type.

Usually they're just there, growing out of long, straight clearings running from ridge-top to ridge-top. The clearings must have been made so it would be easier to raise the towers and wires. And I suppose that they make it easier to get maintenance equipment to the towers and lines. But I never see any of that going on; instead, the whole scene is usually one of benign neglect, as if someone cleared the forest, erected the towers, and strung the lines, and then forgot about them. Left the brush to grow up, thick and tick-filled, and the towers to rust.

Which is why it was so surprising to actually catch people in the act of maintaining them. Union Electric (the old name is so much better than the new one) has been laying a fair amount of new tranmission capacity through there LaBarque Creek watershed (there's a big, new transmission like running across Young Conservation Area, right next to its stand of non-native pine), right across the road from the new Glassberg CA. These fellows must have been performing some related bit of maintenance:

The site was reassuring, after a fashion. Maybe all the transmission lines I see aren't abandoned after all. Aren't junk. Aren't ruins.

There's a metaphysical distinction circling through all of this. When is a place qualify as abandoned? When does a structure become ruins? When does the useful become junk? I'll have to have another look at A.R. Ammon's Garbage. Maybe it will help.

In the meantime, there's this:

Abandoned, but only temporarily. Put out of the way for a time. Not yet junk, unless Budrovich forgets where they left it. Check back next year . . .