Saturday, June 29, 2019

June 29, 2019 — That Boulder in the Road

So, did you hear the one about the two massive boulders that dropped from the sky onto a Colorado highway?

Well, not from the sky exactly. They broke off a nearby mountain and went rolling downhill, completely blocking Colorado Highway 145. No one was hurt. But no one could get through on the road, either, until something was done.

These were no ordinary boulders. They were big. Really big. The largest one was big as a house.

The highway department figured they could dispatch the smaller one — the one weighing 2.3 million pounds — with dynamite. Which they did. Kaboom! Then they bulldozed away the rubble.

The larger of the two boulders — the behemoth weighing 8.5 million pounds — was a different matter. It would have cost nearly a quarter-million dollars to pulverize it. So, State authorities decided to take a different approach. The Governor issued an executive order declaring it to be a monument. They christened it “Memorial Rock.” Then they re-routed the highway around it.

There are at least two different approaches to a cancer diagnosis. Oftentimes, you can blow the tumor up with treatments like chemotherapy or radiation. Bing, bang, boom and you’re done with it. Onward and upward!

Other times, the obstacle is just too dang big. You can build a road around the thing eventually, but it’s always going to be there, a part of your life.

I think it’s creative the way the Colorado Governor declared the mega-boulder to be a memorial. He did it to qualify for some kind of Federal highway funding, but there’s a sort of poetic justice to his proclamation. When something that big drops into the middle of our lives, causing a massive detour, it’s automatically a memorial in and of itself.

So, if you live with cancer, as I do, I suggest you try to make the best of it. Slap a bronze plaque on the thing. Issue a proclamation. Do whatever you have to do to convert your “new normal” into a monument: to something, it matters not what.

Then, the next time you find yourself driving by, give the thing a thumbs-up or a tip of the hat. If nothing else, it’s a memorial to the challenge you rose up to meet, then vanquished.

(Thanks to Sarah Todd, who wrote the story in Quartz that gave me the idea for this.)


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