G and I are car camping on a mesa. It is dusk. I watch a large, protractor-shaped spaceship descend and land behind some trees. Soon, a swarm of geology students dressed in white jumpsuits mill around our campsite, gathering large rocks into wheelbarrows. Some of them spill their loads, comically. I pull our canvas curtains closed and hope for some peace and quiet so we can sleep.
This Friday marks the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, with the anniversary of Nagasaki's bombing on Monday. To protest the continued procurement of nuclear weapons, Think Outside the Bomb are camping near Los Alamos. Their website, thinkoutsidethebomb.org has directions to the camp if anyone out there is looking to make their weekend in the woods more politically active.
If you're not real outdoorsy, check out John Hersey's Hiroshima. It's an amazing book, which appeared as an article in the New Yorker's August 31, 1946 issue. In fact, it was such a powerful story, editors dedicated the entire issue to it, forgoing their cartoons or any other articles.
Another of my faves about the aftermath of World War II is John W. Dower's Embracing Defeat. It's not an uplifting book but it creates a vivid post-war world in your mind.
Of course, 65 is often cited as retirement age (though that's not exactly true these days), which gives Think Outside the Bomb's protest a little more of a "Happy Retirement Fat Man and Little Boy" feel.