AWARD-WINNING SHORT-SHORT STORY
WESTWORD NEWS & ARTS WEEKLY, DENVER, COLORADO
January 4-10, 1989 p.6
THE VERY LARGE ARRAY
Quemado lies at 35, Omega at 42, Datil another 34 to go down roads where men in haytrucks wave and the brush of snow on juniper dresses horizon-to-horizon Highway 60, New Mexico.
I am not alone this lurching afternoon: I am thinking of my father, a man in his thirties filling fire extinguishers in Denver, me a boy of five. He is driving, waving. What would he say about these hills, these pines, this glaring afternoon?
Pie Town is going by, mile marker 56. There are antlers on roofs, the Continental Divide. Headed for Socorro, mile marker 74: "You Are Leaving Ciebolo National Forest." I complete the phrase: "and entering..."
At Datil the radio astronomy lab points its discs skyward on the plains before the Magdalena Mountains, great white shells probing billions of years back into time, gathering light from the beginning of the universe. As I drive past I start to wonder if I can go in there and ask to see 1960 and my father waving, and me.
When I drove past the Very Large Array in
2016, it was for the first time in I don't know how many years.
As I went past I was of course thinking of the above story, but I was also thinking I wouldn't mind seeing that young man again who wrote it, 27 years ago.