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  • Writer's pictureM. Linda Graham

Back to Basics Pt 1: Salt of the Earth

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Sunday January 30, 2023

Retirement Day #1310


Salt of the Earth


My life has been brined lately. My horse, StarBucks, developed an abscess thank you, muddy Michigan winters, requiring daily soakage in warm water with Epsom salts. The treatments stirred up vivid memories: as a professional dancer, I soaked my tired, blistered, & calloused feet in Epsom salts to heal and toughen them. At the same time StarBucks’ abscess literally emerged, my recent saga of tooth implants landed me in the surgeon’s seat, where he inserted and cemented two posts into my gums. Part of the follow up dental care included- you guessed it- daily saltwater rinses. Today, after buying a block of Himalayan pink salt for StarBucks, I drove home on newly salted roads, threw rock salt onto the front door landing, then threw a little over my left shoulder – it was that kind of day. As I lightly salted a batch of home-made chicken soup, I looked at the Morton box “when it rains, it pours” & considered the ubiquitous presence of salt.


The pony had to gargle salt water this morning because he’s feeling a little horse.


Salt is the magic behind kimchi & its European cousin, saurkraut. Refined, iodined, crystallined, this small, common, humble mineral comes in white, pink, gray, dark red, even black. Its power of osmosis renders preternatural abilities to those who know how to wield it. Salt heals, purifies, sterilizes, preserves, flavors; it makes roads safer, clears drains & seasons cast iron skillets. And religious rituals? Salt is legendary, mythmaking – remember Lot’s wife aka “Salty Mama”?


Q: What was the charge when the NaCl was arrested?

A: A salt


Salt mining has been archaeologically documented back to 6050BC. Salt served as currency – & is the basis for the word “salary.” “Salad” means “salted” in Latin, so named because the Romans salted their veggies think celery. Established around salt mines, the city of “Salzburg” translates as “Salt Castle.” Fundamental to the foundation of good health, cultures & cooking around the world, salt became the excuse for worldwide exploration, domination & trade. Salt was, and IS, wanted, needed & tasty.


Q: What do you call it when salt says “hello” to pepper?

A: Seasons Greetings


So all ye Salty Dogs, Salty Girls, Old Salts & Young, consider well this uncommon common table condiment - take it with a dash/pinch/grain of salt/salt block - don’t rub salt in a wound, rather, be the salt of the earth, above/below/beside the salt, and worth one’s salt. Now back to the salt mines, or go pound salt if you’d rather. But be comforted, for there is salt between us, & we are as salt & pepper. If needed, we can take a dose of smelling salts, put salt on the tail of [name your creature], or salt the game.


And for my Hope College brethren, remember that “Student Assessment of Learning and Teaching”? aka SALT? Arrrggg.


I’m out of here

- got a Covenant of Salt to keep with a Horse.







“Back to Basics” takes a moment to wonder & learn about everyday elements that quietly make our lives a little better. It's about exploring the extraordinary ordinary: a series where curiosity & appreciation meet.



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