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Rocks10 minute writing group prompt reworked with pictures.

Poster for lecture North Canal

Watering the Deschutes Country event poster

What struck me about the Bend History lecture last night at McMenamins were the lava flows barely invisible beneath our local soil. The lecture was ostensibly about the 21-mile long irrigation canal built in 1912, but what fascinated me most was not the construction techniques with steam shovels, horse-drawn plow shovels, and the human hand shovels, but the lava rocks underneath. Everywhere the canal went there was lava flow just below the surface. All the way from Bend to Smith Rocks the ground is just a few feet deep of soil, and then lava. Lots of lava!

Photo of Bend, Oregon North Canal

North Canal in full flow with a foot or two of water as seen from Empire Ave Bend, Oregon (44.0908 -121.2794)

Photograph of North Canal basalt base

Same location in winter with no water and the base rocks showing.

Irrigation canals in Bend, Oregon

Looking back at the North Canal bed showing Pilot Butte in the skyline. (44.0924 -121.2796 ?)

Lava flow is just beneith the surface.

Another view showing how near to the surface the base lava flow is.

I wonder if our local cemetery at the foot of Pilot Butte is like that – it surely is. If I get buried there am I going to be set into a chiseled-basalt hole? That doesn’t seem comfortable to me. But then, being burned up in an incinerator doesn’t feel too appealing either.

I’m going to be 81 years old in four weeks, so my mortality is imminent, and I haven’t made any preparations. Unlike when I was twenty years old, I’ve got to face it – I’m not going to live forever. Soon, I’m going to be as lifeless as those lava rocks.

When I think about this like an old Roman stoic, it is supposed to make me feel better, even good. The Stoics thought that when you knew things for certain you could accept them as reality, and when that was accepted as inevitable and there was nothing to be done about it, you could ignore it and just be happy with the choices you have. I’m working on that idea.

Residing inside a lava rock? Somehow, that doesn’t appeal to me at the moment.

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