rings of gold: "Then the snake coiled itself about my body and put its head close to my face. I saw that it had a crown upon its head and rings of gold around its body. I looked into the eyes of the snake and putting my arms about it I said: 'Serpent, you are beautiful to me.'" (Jung,1976)
Conquistadors: "Leaving from Culiacan (Mexico) in 1540, they went up the west coast of Mexico into modern Arizona, then east into New Mexico. The seven golden cities (they were searching for) turned out to be the pueblos around Zuni, New Mexico, and not golden at all." (Christiansen,1972)
wizened path: The Jornada del Muerto is an arid ninety-mile stretch of high desert between Socorro and El Paso, now part of the While Sands Missile Range, on which Trinity Site is located.
Apollonic sun: "as in the rarefied logic of nuclear strategizing and the runaway development of ever more dangerous nuclear technologies, laser and space weapons...Light is not only reason (light and reason being two aspects of Apollo), and reason has its own style of madness." (Perlman,1984)
raining: Such rains have been recorded (showers of blood, for example, mentioned by Homer) through the centuries. More recently, a report from Birmingham, England, in 1954, describes how "hundreds of little frogs scared a group of people in a park by bouncing off their umbrellas." (Watson,1984)
green rocks: Trinitite is a greenish glassy substance that was formed from sand in the extreme heat of the atomic blast at Ground Zero. "At one time Trinitite completely covered the depression made by the explosion. Afterwards the depression was filled and much of the Trinitite was taken away..." (Trinity Site--A National Historic Landmark. White Sands Missile Range, NM, Public Affairs Office.)
snaked: Actually refers to Stallion Gate, the entrance to Trinity Site, about 70 miles from Alamogordo. Medusa was changed "from the girl who could make Poseidon play stallion," into "a snaky-haired, pig-tusked, long-tongued, wide-eyed visage that could petrify the viewer." (Eisner,1987). Medusa herself has equine aspects, and one of her offspring was Pegasus, the winged horse who personifies Poetry's flight.
steel tower: "It had been prefabricated of steel and shipped to the site in sections. Concrete footings poured through the hard desert caliche 20 feet in the earth supported its four legs, which were spaced 35 feet apart; braced with crossed struts it rose 100 feet into the air..." (Rhodes,1986)
He would think: "Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you / As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seek to mend..." (J. Donne. From, "Holy Sonnets, #14.") According to Lansing Lamont, these lines popped into Oppenheimer's mind when he was asked to name the test site posthaste. (Lamond,1965)