There's this succulent thriving in my home.
I don't know how.
Nothing thrives here.
I keep the windows open.
Flies come in, die in the window frames. Little dusty corpses line the base being ground and raked by the opening and closing of the sliding window.
Waiting to be vacuumed, their final resting place.
Is it the succulent you bought after finishing that Baldwin novel?
Were we experimenting with sobriety then?
You usually pulled a healthy 2 oz from a bourbon bottle. So why was this time different?
Trying to create new traditions.
For all I know this could be a different plant entirely.
I barely remember how or when plants began, their stories impulsively entering my life to exist in months/years long state of entropy.
Slowing falling apart, starved of light and sun, or too much light and sun?
There was a boy once I was seeing for a small amount of time.
He had teeth like buttered-popcorn jelly bellies.
I told him they were beautiful and unique. A special part of him.
He grew succulents in his room under a lamp, a surreal blue UFO glow filling his room.
He worked at a nursery and talked about plants a lot.
It was strange being intimate with someone who cares about their job and talks about it endlessly.
I had plastic succulents in my room at the time. He picked one up and examined it with the eye of an expert.
"It's not real," I had said.
"That must be very depressing to see, considering how much you like succulents."
I don't remember what he said.
When I ended things through a text message he had protested.
I had kinda lied and told him I needed to prioritize time with my friends and family.
It wasn't a total lie though.
The truth was I had completed a major self-publishing project (major for me) and he hadn't really been that interested or curious about it.
The zine I gifted him, he had rolled a joint on and had left it in the backyard, bits of marijuana sprinkling the cover.
The wind eventually separating and scattering the unstapled pages across the patio.
When he had showed me his photography, a coffee-table book he had had printed of forests, I had spent time on every page, making observations and inquiring about his process.
When I ended things, he said I hadn't actually got to know him.
There was so much more about him that was fascinating.
I should see him in his element, the woods.
I told him he was really great and that it had nothing to do with him, I just needed to take some time to be with people that are close to me.
He told me he was at work and we'd talk about it later.
Then he sent me a screenshot of our conversation.
Then he told me that screenshot was meant for a friend for analysis.
I told him, "let your friend know I have plastic succulents."
"Salt of the Earth."
"Worth their salt."
"Take it with a grain of salt."
Tay Tay and I were obsessed with salt. We had a little pinch-pot that rested on the shelf above the stove that accompanied our plates to the dinner table. It was sprinkled liberally on every dish.
Gandhi walked to the Arabian Sea to protest the prohibition of Indian citizens from harvesting and selling salt, requiring them to purchase exclusively of the English market, taxed heavily.
Salt is gorgeous.
Ranging from the briny white encrusted surfaces of ocean shores, the peach marbled of Himalayan salt mines, the sel de gris harvested from the base of the sea, and the mottled granules harvested from seaweed in Japan.
It's sources varied, it's flavor familiar.
A small lick of a salt rock acts to prime the palate.
It enhances and brings out the flavor of any dish (especially sweets) and satiates the body in a way its lack will not.
My friend Anna makes this broth. It's so many things: vegetables, bones, a dash of fish oil right before serving.
The comfort in all the hot savory elixir imbibed at the temperature barely below burning your tongue seemed to cure any ailment. "My rule of thumn is 21-25 grams of salt per gallon," She let me know once.
I remember the way the broth would make me stretch, as if I came from a dry sauna or a hot spring.
Everything loosened, relaxing into a place of better alignment.
Cari has my favorite salt, I still can't find it in stores.
It's that flaky celtic sea salt that holds a crystalline shape like a snowflake dissolving on the tip of your tongue.
There is no better pair with salt then a lover's warm skin dried after wave chasing.
With these indulgences of course comes the consequence of their imbalance, the reality in which I am personally aware.
As a personality trait, to be salty is to be irritated, angry, hostile.
It's attributed to the agitated, the one with the ruffled feathers, reacting rather than listening.
Frustrated and impatient.
When I think of "salty" as a personality trait I imagine an angry salt shaker clamoring back and forth on a tabletop, spilling grains from its porous head. I imagine a salty person grabbing this angry shaker and turning it over their food, adding fuel to their own inferno. Slamming a spooned fist at the table to command attention. Spewing a rant to a family who exchanges downward glances and stirs their potatoes.
Then why is it such a contradiction when they say, "worth your salt?" or "salt of the earth?"
Salt was currency once. To be worth your salt is to be worth your paycheck in Roman times.
I like to think of it as the saline quality in our blood.
Is what we do, our action, worthy of the salt in our veins?
Are we earning our keep as stewards?
Are we maintaining our worth as children of the sea?
And "salt of the earth" is term used for the best kind of people.
I have earthbound grounded salt people I love so much. Their faces easily come to mind with this term.
There's something about soil stained finger-nails and thick unwashed hair.
Something about the way the earth collects on them in a way that makes them more vibrant then others.
I think of Matthew Carter and Anna.
I think of Seth, Hailee, Caleb, and Melinda. These are salt of the earth people. Chicken raisers and broth makers.
I can't exactly put my finger on the magic of salt.. it's presence is common in spell-casting and purifying rituals.
Salt circles are meant to protect, seal in a ceremonial practice.
Playing off of old cliches, I hold the memory of shaky teenagers spreading the baker's cabinet mortons in a circle around them to candlelight in anticipation of a demonic force. Even a base knowledge of salts properties is known in a pinch (no pun intended).
Why am I writing this treatise on my love of salt?
On the subject of salt as so fundamental and woven into the personal and the cultural?
This meandering love note addled with inaccuracies no doubt.
I made these little salt rings to cast ritual circles and needed to put into words what salt means to me.
I'll take whatever salt you offer, a grain or a boulder.
Any sort, I'll inevitably touch it to the tip of my tongue.
The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea. - Karen Blixon