Then we headed home

If the radiance of a thousand suns
were to burst into the sky,
that would be like
the splendor of the Mighty One—
I am become Death, the shatterer of Worlds.


On July 16, 1945, the first test of a nuclear weapon, Trinity, an implosion-design plutonium bomb, the type dropped on Nagasaki, took place in the New Mexico desert southeast of Socorro.

The site is open to the public on the first Saturdays of April and October.

On the first Wednesday of April, traveling highway 380 we passed nearby Trinity late at night on the way to Roswell. There were no lights for miles, so we stopped at a roadside rest area to look at the Milky Way.

I have no photos.

I thought maybe one day H.o.p. will remember that we stopped nearby Trinity so that we could remember that testing and that while there he was able to finally view the Milky Way unobstructed by city lights or lights from the highway, for it was darkness all around on that road with only one car passing by as we stood roadside gazing up, though the boundless is available in every direction.

Earlier in the day we had stopped by The Very Large Array.

I thought maybe one day H.o.p. will remember that we stopped by The Very Large Array and that, in the wind, he stood beneath one of those giant antennaes that collects radio observations of galactic marvels while jackrabbits hopped all around us in the brush.

The next morning we woke up in Roswell and visited the International U.F.O. Museum, which we’d also toured a little over a year ago. Following that trip I did several digital paintings, one of the exterior and several showing the interior, including this one of H.o.p.. The man behind the desk in that painting was still there. I considered stopping and relating I’d done several digital paintings of the museum then decided against it. I returned several times to the lobby, rethinking, wondering if I should mention the paintings.

I didn’t.

I had also done a digital painting based on the interior of the Cover-Up Cafe.

The Cover-Up Cafe is now closed.

“Darn, our favorite restaurant in Roswell is closed,” H.o.p. said.

He asked that we eat at Dennys. Toward the beginning of the trip, at Holbrook, we’d eaten at Dennys but they’d not had any rocket cups.

“Besides, the food is always good,” H.o.p. said, all confidence, having eaten at Dennys only once in his life.

They didn’t have the advertised rocket cups at the Dennys in Roswell either.

Marty ordered the chicken-fried steak. He bit into it. The meat was uncooked, raw all through, which pretty much capped our experience of bad roadside dining throughout the trip. The cook came out and apologized but Marty chose not to order anything else.

I know H.o.p. will remember Roswell because he loves the subject of aliens. For him, Roswell is now a tradition as we’ve visited it twice. He liked it better the first time though when there were alien inflatables and a big glitter UFO in the lobby. He says this time there was instead something about a video game called “Destroy All Humans” (I didn’t get a close look) and he didn’t care for that. The glitter ship with its friendly, welcoming aliens was more to his liking.

He spent 50 cents to mash a penny into a souvenir of the museum. We purchased a bumper sticker that reads, “Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car.”

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Juli Kearns

Juli Kearns is the author of Thunderbird and the Ball of Twine and Unending Wonders of a Subatomic World (or) In Search of the Great Penguin. She is also an artist/photographer, and the person behind the web alter of "Idyllopus Press".

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