The main ring is a one-story mound of earth circumscribing a circular canal, miles in circumference. Below ground, protons and anti-protons collide at nearly the speed of light, at energies that have not been common since the Big Bang. On the surface, herons are startled by my presence and take off, slapping the water with rubbery wings. The FermiLab site is not exactly a natural preserve, as the sculpted landscape is strikingly artificial. It is what I imagine a natural preserve to be like on a distant space colony. But the turtles and fish and encroaching grasses are utterly oblivious to the rough lines carved in the land decades ago.

At this point, we can see the main FermiLab building in the distance (above and to the left of the rightmost sign, barely visible in the fog), and we can hear the hissing of pipes and the hum of pumps.

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