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Melting Ice

Falling down on the ice isn’t as inconsequential as it once seemed when I was a kid. There’s something about frozen water on a pedestrian passageway that gets my attention. As an adult I’ve occasionally fallen hard on slippery surfaces, and not once have I enjoyed it. Between scraping my entire right shin from my ankle to my kneecap, and knocking the wind out of myself to a point where it felt like I might never get my breath back, I do my level best to avoid getting “horizontal” when going outside during the winter months.

When I was younger, I never thought twice about running across an icy area and allowing my winter boots to slide me the rest of the way to my destination, but now I look for methods of avoiding icy pathways. I’ve even been known to wade into the deep, snowy sidelines of a perfectly smooth sidewalk to escape the treacherously glassy patches of ice that sometimes hide themselves beneath the fine powdery dusting of snow that grazes the cement.

There are a number of methods for getting rid of the ice that has accumulated on the surfaces that people tread. One can chop and pick away at it with a sidewalk scraper but this can take some time depending on the thickness of the ice. Waiting for the warm weather of spring is certainly an option but one that I haven’t had the luxury of experiencing during my working years. I guess I could move my family to warmer climates, but I like it here.

I usually opt for the melting method, and although there are a number of products that can be purchased to complete this task, most often I find myself loading a large bag of plain rock salt into the shopping cart. This product doesn’t seem so chemical-laden to me, and besides, if there’s ever a time when I need to make homemade ice cream, that task is almost impossible without having some rock salt around.

If the sidewalk by our home is icy, I don’t chip, scrape and fuss. I grab the bag of rock salt. It takes only a few minutes to spread an even layer over the surface and then I go back inside. Fifteen to 20 minutes later, and I can see bare cement once again.  I still proceed with caution but I am thankful for the melting qualities of those briny little crystals.

“You are the salt of the earth…” ( Matthew 5:13).

I know, I know…this verse is speaking about the idea that salt flavors things, and in the broader context, those who claim to follow the Creator ought to bring a godly, savory zest to everything that they come in contact with.  I do believe, however, that the ability to also use that salty flavor of character to melt away some of the behavioral “icy-ness” we experience in our daily interactions with others helps to smooth out life’s surface.  Why take the chance of slipping and falling in our encounters with others…when we can use salt?

Michael Temple writes from North Dakota.

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About Michael Temple

Michael Temple

writes from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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