02 October 2010

Sharing the Salt of the Earth

Assignment, Part Quatre:

No doubt, we live in a very visual world.  As part of the ongoing saga of the class assignment, we were asked to post a photograph on our blog.  Long time readers know I have posted many in the past (but not quite as many here, now that my photography blog has been up and running for a while), and the assignment was a nice reminder to post another here.  Ergo:

I discovered this in my photo archives while browsing.  I like it, a lot.  I enjoy its simplicity and homey elegance.  It also dovetailed wonderfully with the thematic swirl of thoughts in my head, now that I've been thinking so much about blogging and sharing online.

Salt may be ubiquitous to us, but there was a time in history where salt was a highly controlled commodity, with much more relative weight economically and symbolically than it carries today.  "Salt of the earth." "Worth his weight in salt."  These phrases used to mean so much more, when kings and countries controlled the production of distribution of the mineral.  Even the word "salary" has its roots in the Latin word for salt (sal).

What meant the most to me, though, was the symbolic presence of the salt.  In most cultures, in the folklore and social traditions, to share salt with someone, especially strangers, was an act of kinship and hospitality that was not taken lightly.  It meant something.  It implied an extension of trust.  It meant that those who offered salt were inviting those who were offered into their lives, families or homes.

I like that idea.  I like the idea of shared trust, of offering friendship.  After all, they are (like salt used to be) truly valuable things, not offered lightly and with the hope of reciprocity.

Not unlike the words spilled herein on these electronic pages.  Come, sit, read.  Let us share salt together.


  1. Despite studying relevant periods of history, I've never quite understood why salt was so precious. I don't even like it much, except on potatoes. There must be salt on potatoes, but before potatoes, what the heck was it for?! Still. My private salt-skepticism aside, it's a great photo and I enjoyed reading your post. Now wondering where "with a pinch of salt" comes in to this world of words and trust...

  2. Salt~ the only rock we eat!

    Pop Rocks don't count cuz they're sugar :)


  3. Without salt, our bodies suffer. Same can be said of shared trust and friendship.
    Nice post IG!

  4. I watch my salt because of my blood pressure, so please don't be offended when I offer you my Mrs. Dash.

  5. Pour it on me, baby!


    I wonder if this is what Jimmy Buffet was referring to when he'd lost his salt shaker?

  6. I always liked the saying "he is the salt of the earth".


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...