sixty seven years

4:04 PM




By Rudolfo Carrillo


Certainly, due consideration was taken.

Course I am talking about the images displayed above. As an ensemble they are meant to represent something that is perhaps unattainable except through the magic distilled and distributed by the research and engineering department at the Adobe Corporation.

If you are wondering what I am getting at in that previous and elusive statement, well let me tell you.

It is the Fourth of July, two thousand and twelve. Sixty-seven years ago, this same date fell on a Tuesday. I am just guessing here, but it probably was a beautiful day in Albuquerque, back there in nineteen hundred and forty-five.

I'd like to believe that a minor variation of the slow-to-gather but remarkably triumphant monsoon clouds building themselves up on the horizon visited the inhabitants of that military outpost, that railroad crossing, that widely expansive bosque and adjacent farm land, with the same grace and sudden transformative effect water always has an elusive and perhaps eternally temporary phenomenon still observable among the tribe of humans gathered in concrete shelters around the edges of el rio.

Anywho, back in that dimly lit yet shadowy (because you'd figure that dim lighting would beget weak shadows, but that's the past for you, always surprising) other summer, folks probably got ready for barbeques, looked lovingly at photographs of their children and husbands and wives at war, headed out for parades and fireworks displays. I am almost willing to bet that city commissioner Clyde Tingley bought a new tie especially for that parade and that his wife Carrie had a new and properly floral hat delivered to the mayor's home that morning, in anticipation of the same.

Besides all that hullabuloo, there was probably a small group of humans stationed at the airbase on the edge of town who were wondering about something amazing that was going to happen two weeks into the future. Maybe there were just one or two, maybe a dozen. I don't know for sure. Maybe they were concerned that the atmosphere might catch fire, that the night's patriotic fireworks display would just be an ironic harbinger of what was to come. Maybe some of them had faith in science though and firmly believed that what was about to happen was right, would save lives and ultimately add some sparkle to all the patriotic fireworks displays yet to come.

The soldiers and sailors and airmen and airwomen who had no idea what was really going on at that military outpost in the desert were probably scared. Most of them were going to be sent to Japan in September, as part of a massive invasion force. Most likely the mysterious activities being played out between Los Alamos and Albuquerque and into la jornada del muerto raised the level of disquiet. That summer, that Fourth of July must have seemed like the last hurrah to them. I would not be surprised if some of them drove down to the river and waded in the muddy and cool water, admiring the cottonwood forest that wound out, apparently endless, all around them. That musta been one hell of a stress buster.

Meanwhile other cars came and went from the Alvarado Hotel to the base and then out into the southern desert, carrying men who smoked pipes and wore big-brimmed hats. The summer wind kicked up, the sun climbed mercilessly into the air and the elm trees the mayor had advocated for started doing their shady jobs.

Now it is sixty-seven years later. The elm trees for Albuquerque part of Tingley's legacy has been noticably and (warning, humourous neologism ahead) enviro-properly dealt with. The Alvarado was destroyed but then gloriously re-imagined by another visionary mayor. Most of the folks I wrote about have disappeared back into the earth.

On the southern edge of town the mystery our mothers and fathers left for us in 1945 has become a legacy, a thing to symbolize and protect, despite the heat, just like the summertime. Of course, we can never really make all of that run backwards, as I have imagined. The way the universe is built, we can only hope that it never runs forward, again.

It's warm out. Birds are singing everywhere, hardly anyone is wearing real shoes and maybe it will rain tonight. Somebody down the road already has the grill going and I know this because I can smell the igniter fluid and charcoal wafting in the background.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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