Annette and I are traveling in Santa Fe and Taos, New Mexico this past week. I wanted to express some thoughts about what we’ve seen and felt, but I was reluctant because of the effort to write down thoughts in a blog, then edit the draft of words, then edit again, then add photos, then edit again…on and on. Whew!

The simple tasks of writing seem harder and harder for me to complete.

Yet the urge remains.

So, I thought I’d give this blog a single pass, no edits, no revisions, no second thoughts. Just first thoughts as if I were talking to you all around the warm fire I’ve just lit in our casita here in Taos on Saturday morning after a surprised night of snow.

The general impression I have of New Mexico is one of timelessness. Ancient cliffs. Ancient desert floors. Ancient clouds that seem to remain suspended in the effortless blue sky for hours, or days, or centuries, unmoved, unruffled…simply there above you to remind you of how insignificant you are crawling along on the ground below.

click

click

click

click

Two things attracted me to this trip (not golf at the Taos Country Club, though that was fun!).

First, of course, was the Native American history and influence of their vision on my internal head space. The second was Los Alamos, the site of the Manhattan Project, an endeavor that threatened to end time for all time.

click

click

The confluence of these two attractions, timeless people and nuclear fission, came in striking contrast the day Nettie and I visited both the Bradbury Science Museum where Oppenheimer’s life-sized statue lords over the detailed description of how the atomic bomb was built and tested, and our trip to the Bandelier cliff dwellings about fifty miles away.

The cliff dwellings were the home to ancient pueblo peoples over a continuous period of 11,000 years. Many tribes, many cultures, many changes and many things unchanged in the staggeringly beautiful Frijoles Canyon.

click

click

The cliffs themselves were formed from volcanic ash that spewed from an eruption a million years ago that was 600 times more powerful than the St. Helena eruption. The eruption deposited 1000 feet of ash over a 60 mile area, destroying everything in its path.

Like an atom bomb might do, or a thousand atom bombs might accomplish.

As I sat in a small cliff cave carved out of this solidified volcanic ash by a native person perhaps 500 years ago, I thought of the powerful words that Robert Oppenheimer spoke when he witnessed the first test of his terrible creation in the New Mexico desert: I am become death, destroyer of worlds.

click

click

clcik

clcik

Oppeheimer’s words are from the Bahgavad Gita, the ancient Hindu book that predates the Pueblo people by 1500 years, and precedes the atomic explosion by 2500 years.

Yes, time and timelessness. And now with the development/invention/creation of the atomic age all time is finally possible to be extinguished for all time.

Or is it?

As I took Annette’s hand and we walked back through the canyon toward the Visitor Center, I knew that time cannot end. Because it doesn’t exist at all.

The endless clouds that settle above Ghost Ranch where Georgia Okeeffe painted, the arroyos that flood and then bake under the summer sky, the mesas that turn blue at sunset and then red at sunrise, the tent rocks that stand as sentinels against the thunderclouds and bitter winds of winter, none of these knows time. None cares of seconds or minutes, days or months.

click

click

None believe the lie of the timekeepers.

Nor should I.

 

One Response to The Bomb In The Cave

  1. Cary says:

    What a wonderful trip. It’s beautiful whenever we appreciate and recognize the art and humanity that existed before us. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.