by Scott Boyle
Every year in May, the Dutch observe National Mill Day, where windmills all over the Netherlands are open to the public.
Nearly 2,000 iconic windmills, drainage mills, and corn mills dot the countryside of the Netherlands, attracting millions of camera-hoisting sightseers year round.
Much of the history and development of the Netherlands as a country is centered around the value of the windmills, using the wind to pound, grind, hack, shred or mix any raw material or drain the land of excess water to allow increased utilization of more farmland.
Windmills to the Netherlands are like the Statue of Liberty or the Grand Canyon to the United States. Visiting the windmills of the Netherlands is one of those bucket list items for SportShorts.
In the early 1700s, nearly 9,000 windmills dotted the land and understandably were subjects for many paintings done in the day.
Rembrandt is just one famous painter who understood and captured the aesthetic value of the windmill.
Three centuries later, another famous painter, Van Gogh, also used the windmills as art subjects.
Now, even in the 21st Century, the windmills still evoke emotional responses. Why, one can even take a 10-day “Windmills and Tulips” river cruise through the Dutch countryside for a mere $3,000.
Dutch windmills are symbols of strength, perseverance, and self-reliance. For centuries, they kept the people dry, fed, and safe.
They have become part of the natural habitat, it seems, as natural as the ocean they help keep at bay. From the good they do, the values they represent, the stunning, nostalgic visual feast they always provide, Dutch windmills always seem to elicit redemptive, emotional, responses.
Windmills continue to be observed, become the subjects of paintings or subjects for prose about life. Observing such things close at hand gives rise to experiences that give life meaning and worth... aesthetic experiences.
So, what about our own windmills (turbines) right here in Monticello, the Latigo Wind Farm, which began spinning for business this month?
Are there aesthetic experiences awaiting on the gently sloping hillsides northeast of Monticello?
Leaving aside the much-debated disagreements about the economic benefits of a windmill farm and the federal government’s influence, is there aesthetic value in the windmills themselves?
Will they be the subject of prose and painting, visitation and roused feelings? Time will tell.
Aesthetic experiences explain much of our love affair with high school sports, don’t you think?
Think of the impact of “feelings” on our participation and learning, whether actively involved as players, coaches, referees, family members or fans.
Are these events not experiences that give value and significance to our mortal sojourn, whether they evoke thrilling, exhilarating, or unifying feelings or frustrated, negative, even irritated or heated feelings?
It is the dealing with the feelings that rise from sport that determines the value or lack of value, significance or insignificance of much of what we learn from sport participation.
Take the recently completed 1A state high school basketball tournaments, for instance.
Consider the exhilaration, excitement and pure delight those involved with the MHS Lady Bucks basketball team felt when the girls made it to the semi-finals last month at the state basketball tournament for the first time in nearly 25 years!
Compare that to the disappointment, dissatisfaction, and frustration that accompanied the next two games when the girls were unexpectedly thwarted both times, to end the season for the Lady Bucks.
The experiences that evoke both contentment and discontent, in fact, harbor experiences, feelings, and resolutions that add to the good life. Neither, the contentment nor discontent, should be catalysts for marginalization, but should promote increased action.
Next week: Baseball and Track and Field news.