Today, while on a walk among some local farm fields, I got to admiring one of the ridges that delimits our little valley. As mild as it is compared to some places, the topography here has been one of the things I really appreciate about our home. Just like most mid-Atlantic ridges, it’s covered in forest and only subtly impressive. One ever-present feature, however, did happen to catch my eye: the not-so-subtle high-voltage power lines snaking their way up and over the ridge’s crest. It’s not that I’d never noticed them — it’s just that, on this particular walk, they presented themselves as a reminder what good infrastructure (e.g. electricity, plumbing, roadways, air traffic control) actually looks like.

It seems to me that good infrastructure is like clean water or good coffee: you rarely know you need it until you have it, and you rarely appreciate it until it’s gone.

So that means, as an engineer concerned with designing infrastructure, the highest praise I could receive is being told that my designs are invisible, forgotten, or otherwise taken for granted. Why did I ever choose this thankless field, again?