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Second (Trinity) Sight

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
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If the radiance of a thousand suns, were to burst into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One …” – Bhagavad-Gita

OKLAHOMA CITY – Tomorrow, October 5th, is the bi-annual “Trinity Site Tour” at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Each year, once in April and once in October, visitors are taken to the site – along the Jornado del Muerto – to the site where the US government’s Manhattan Project detonated the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, ushering the world into a new age of nuclear-tipped uncertainty and potential global catastrophe.

I found this to be of particular interest in light of the remarkable book I am reading by Jennifer Givhan titled Trinity Sight. I will not give too much away, but I found it of synchromystic interest that Givhan’s just-released novel that is a mix of apocalyptic horror, magical realism, indigenous myth and an unnerving travelogue through the New Mexican wilderness, that may be the best work of fiction that I have read in the past decade. And I am not entirely finished with the book. A review is to follow forthwith.

The publication of  Trinity Sight, at this time in history, seems to me to be planned. I do not know Jennifer Givhan, but I feel I know her after reading her book of poetry Rosa’ Einstein and now, mid-way through Trinity Sight. I say that, also because she was a guest speaker in July at Oklahoma City University at a weeklong residency I attended as part of the university’s Red Earth MFA program in creative writing, which I hope to begin, myself, in January.

Sadly, I missed hearing Givhan the day she spoke. But, when I participated in a 10-minute writing exercise where we were instructed to emphasize the five senses. I quickly penned a piece about a young man in Beaumont, Texas (near the mouth of the Trinity River and on the mystical line of 94 degrees west longitude) who is compelled to take a bus to Alamogordo, New Mexico and make his way across the White Sands Missile Range to ground zero – the Trinity Site.

I tried to be as descriptive as possible as I wrote about the protagonist’s journey aboard a hot, smelly Greyhound bus to Alamogordo. The man was to then make his way to the Trinity Site, which is off limits unless preauthorized and usually at the designated dates each year in April and October. It was there that the character was to access a “gateway” or “portal” that opened on July 16, 1945 following the Trinity Test – overseen by the Manhattan Project’s J. Robert Oppenheimer and Gen. Leslie Groves -  and was accessible by those who had the occult abilities to go through the door, which was not visible to the naked eye.

Since we only had about 10 minutes to write our piece, I did not get to finish my short story. However, when I randomly shared the details of my story with a woman sitting next to me – Deborah – she seemed startled and amazed. She asked me if I had heard Jennifer Givhan and I admitted I had not. Deborah went on to talk about Givhan’s writing and poetry about the Trinity Test and atomic bomb testing in her native state of New Mexico, as seen through the eyes of a Mexican-American. I could not believe it! I immediately ordered Rosa’s Einstein and was enthralled. I then pre-ordered Trinity Sight and, so far, I have not been disappointed. The story reminds me of some post-apocalyptic horror film – think The Day After or Damnation Alley – as told by Carlos Castaneda. I cannot explain how much her story resonates with me, particularly two years after Episode 8 “Gotta light?” of Twin Peaks: The Return, which I have written about multiple times here at Dust Devil Dreams.

FROSTED PAIN

And so today I am at the On the Border Tex-Mex restaurant (it was National Taco Day) and the mood, the vibe, it was all … wrong. This is the chain restaurant’s location at 33rd and Broadway in Edmond, Oklahoma. I arrived soon after opening, my copy of Trinity Sight under my arm. I am often drawn to this particular crossroads because of supernatural activity reported in the general vicinity. Lately, it has been electrical power failures in automobiles. I would be shocked to find out why, in part, service was poor and slow this particular day – a day when they were expecting a lot of business.

I chose to sit in the bar area, next to a window a server had noted, back in January (in my post "On the border") was where a hawk had slammed into the window and died. In fact, there are always lots of birds in this particular location of humming wires and eateries and other businesses. As I read Trinity Sight, the main character, Calliope, witnesses a blackbird - a crow - violently hit the window of the cabin where she has sought shelter, with a few others, following some utterly bizarre catastrophe that has struck New Mexico and beyond, where people have simply disappeared and the planet itself seems to be morphing into something different - and all somehow tied to the 1945 Trinity Test. 

"What would make a bird fly into a closed window? Especially a frosted pane?" wonders Calliope. It is a great question. And here I was, sitting next to the very window where the On the Border waitress had witnessed this bird's death dive into the firm glass. Whammo! Blood spatters. Pane becomes pain.

It's at this point, as I read my book, that I notice the service is slow-to-non-existent. The hostess is friendly enough but the servers seem to be going out of their way to ignore me. I sense something odd in the atmosphere of the restaurant as songbirds gather in flocks in the sky, on the "humming wires" and on the outdoor plants and tables. They are keeping an eye on things. (Reminder: My most previous Dust Devil Dreams post, "Intersection of high weirdness" addresses this same crossroads of the curious).

Fed up with being served food I never ordered and condiments that never arrived, I seek out the manager. He's a somewhat unfriendly, harried chap who seems to think I am just another problem he has to deal with that day. I look him directly in the eye and demand to know what is going on. He finally admits that the electrical and computer systems in the restaurant have gone absolutely haywire the past few days, causing all sorts of problems for he and his staff. He essentially admitted the problems had been "hellish" and a "nightmare" and that there was no explanation for it.

I asked the manager about recent strange occurrences at this intersection of 33rd and Broadway. He feigned ignorance on the peculiarities I was inquiring about. But he certainly seemed stressed and I told him this was just another example of the strange things - particularly related to electricity and electric power - that have been reported in this area. 

He comped my meal and ran off. I stared out the window, watching a man in all-black clothing pacing back and forth in the parking lot. I then peered around at the workers and customers in the restaurant. Something was most definitely off. It was spooky. I felt I needed to leave, which I did.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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