John Bear gets nuked
A road trip to the Trinity Site
I went to the Trinity Site on Saturday.
The Trinity Site is the spot in the desert southeast of Socorro where scientists first demonstrated – in the beautiful desert no less – they could compress a ball of plutonium or uranium into a critical mass, causing a nuclear explosion. The United States would later demonstrate that such a device can turn people into star dust. Twice.
The site is only open to the public twice a year. I couldn't help but notice that the desert seems to have swallowed whatever was once there. There was some trinitite, greenish glass created by a fission bomb, but mostly just sand. Of course, the radiation levels are much higher than the surrounding area, but I was assured that they weren't anything to be afraid of. Still, holding radioactive glass wreaked havoc on my OCD. I am abundantly aware of my left hand as I write this.
One thing I noticed: When I travel into the desert, I am often overwhelmed with a sense of otherworldliness. The desert is a mystical place and I love to bask in it.
But it does not exist at the Trinity Site. The government nuked the mystical mysticism. I was at least expecting the feeling I got at the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, the sense that something horrible happened here. But nothing. The absence of any profound feeling is scary.
So the government killed the magic and the desert ate the tourist attraction. My boots are still covered in radioactive dust and I appear to be growing a sixth toe on my left foot. Freaky.