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LJ Idol: Salty

It is a curious fact of human biology that we need salt to live. It is salt that drives the engines of our cells, that fuels a myriad bodily processes that happen without our awareness every minute of every day to keep us alive. Consumed principally in the form of table salt, NaCl, just a few milligrams of this vital nutrient each day keeps us breathing, digesting, pumping blood and thus oxygenating our cells, and a thousand other vital processes. Without salt, we would literally slowly whither and die.

Salt is the stuff of life.

The other curious fact about human biology and salt is that, for as much as we need it, the lack of salt awakes no craving. Nothing in our body sends up the message that we need to get some salt on board, stat, before things start going horribly sideways. In spite of this, however, one of the earliest human innovations we see is a variety of techniques to extract salt from the environment -- through evaporating sea water on hot sticks, scraping it off seaside rocks, evaporating urine (really -- the Aztecs did it). Somehow, intuitively, maybe even spiritually, we know that we need salt to live.

We spend the first 9 months of our existence afloat in salty water, and when we're born it's in a rush of this salty fluid. The saline sweat and tears of labor are what welcome us Earthside, as we squall and surf the aminotic tide into life. Sometimes I wonder if our bond with salt, our intimate bond with it, is formed in these prebirth months, in these moments when we transition from the relative safety of the womb to the wonderful and perilous world outside. Do we carry with us the memory of floating in our own private piece of ocean? Are we always on some level aching to return?

Salt is with us in the most profound of ways. The most significant moments of our lives are awash in salt, are bathed in salt, are encrusted with salt. At moments of deep joy, of heart-wrenching sorrow, of adrenaline-fueled stress and fear, we produce salt, leak it ouf our pores and let it issue forth from our eyes.

Salt is somehow baptism, blessing, redemption, cleansing.

Salt is tears, and sweat, and the hot fluids of passion. It is the purging of despair, it is the ecstacy of celebration, it is the soothing balm of side-splitting laughter. It is the crystalline structure of love, of hate, of grief, of loss, of endings and new beginnings.

Salt is our constant companion.

If we are lucky, we live a life that is by turns sweet and bitter, and if we are really lucky the sweet outweighs the bitter.

But no matter how life tastes in any given moment, at its heart, it is always salty.



Mar. 20th, 2017 12:43 pm (UTC)
Beautiful.I especially loved the amniotic sac paragraph. You really gave the term "Salty" a new meaning :)


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