RICHARD's desk...: Salt: A mineral of sort

Please forward this post to your social contacts. Thanks, Richard

Salt, a mineral that is consumed by humans and animals has become an important topic of discussion as of late, particularly during the winter of 2013. The type of salt in question is the rock salt that we use on our roads and private properties to prevent bonding between the ice and the earth’s surface.

This mineral has become a sought after product in Canada and the United States, with the advent of our 2013-2014 winter ice-storm. This ice-storm was accompanied by an overabundance of snow and ice crystals, and proved to be a major challenge for residents in many different regions across the country. The challenge remains quite evident in The Greater Toronto Area, where property owners are struggling to find available lawn space to dispose of the snow as they wait diligently for nature to bring relief, pondering aloud, “enough snow already, where is the salt?”

The harshness and unpredictability of this winter has affected individuals and industries alike. Prior to this event who could imagine the incredible impact that a scarcity of rock salt would have on a population? Many of us store our salt in the garage with no particular respect for the importance of this compound. It is probably fair to say that, going forward, we will be proactive in ensuring we have salt or salt compound on hand to more effectively combat future winter horrors.

The lack of storage space for the snow and the desperate need for salt, gives the feeling of a disaster aftermath where there is such uncertainty. The thought that the next winter storm could leave some of us housebound reminds us of how vulnerable we are as humans. The experience creates a heightened awareness that we have no control over the forces of nature.

In the face of a treacherous winter, many of us saw a light in the winter tunnel in the form of helpful neighbours. Where we once just waved to each other in passing, we were now standing around talking about the lack of salt and the abundance of snow. We shared our salt, shovels, snow-blowers, pick-axes, and any other needed resources. It was those moments that made me feel blessed to be living in my neighbourhood. This goes to show that we are each other’s keeper as God commanded it, because He knows it’s good for us.

While this winter may leave a trail of bad memories, let us choose to see some good in it by allowing ourselves to be reminded of how we should conduct our daily lives. This situation proved that there is nothing that can bind people together better, than when we have endured disasters together and prevailed in the face of them. Humans have a great propensity to adapt and that is what helps us to thrive.

What a difference a nail in the sole of a shoe can make, especially when the nail is in the sole of the shoe of an entire country? (Pardon the pun). If this was an enemy invasion, which of the two would we consider to be the enemy? The snow dilemma or the salt dilemma? Let us not forget the lessons we learned as a result of the winter of 2013, and the hope of a spring which may be vibrant and pleasing to the eyes. The spring season may be a long awaited change, which is much deserved after the aftermath of a winter which claimed our freedom for some time.

Though we were warned of the harshness of the winter, no one could have predicted the magnitude of the challenge we would have to embrace. What then would or will we do differently? In the book of Matthew 22, 37 it states, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, with all thy strength and love thy neighbour as thyself”. Biblically, our neighbour could be the family next door, but I can assure you that the notion of neighbourly love is not limited to a geographical boundary. This means we are required to demonstrate love, gratitude, kindness and generosity wherever we are. This extends to the market place also, because we are all neighbours if we look at that passage in the broadest sense. Naturally, there is no pain in neighbourly love, near or far.

Salt is good for many things including flavoring and preserving our foods, as well as dissolving snow and ice. For many of us, salt will no longer be a miscellaneous item we purchase, but an item that we will make a more conscious effort to acquire, for long and harsh are the winters and what if we should have another winter like this one? It is remarkable to think that a single insignificant looking item such as salt, could gain such notoriety, and climb up the ladder of high importance in one season of our lives. The 1982 film Gandhi, set in the 1930’s, tells an interesting story about the taxing of salt. Those who have seen the film, myself included, will agree that salt is significant, and on that merit, it is clear that salt, a mineral of sort, has a place in our lives and we cannot live without it!

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Erma W.

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