A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


We've had two wimpy dustings of snow this season--one early in the winter, and another last week. Both melted within a few hours. The city and various area establishments seem determined to use up their yearly snow removal budget nevertheless. There's more salt on the sidewalks and roads than there ever was snow.

Rock salt and the recently-popular ice melt made from calcium chloride (CaCl2) and magnesium chloride (MgCl2) are hazardous to humans and to the environment. They harm or kill vegetation, and build up in the soil to inhibit new growth and the absorption of water and nutrients by existing plants. They harden soil, creating a layer impermeable to water. They attack the pavement surface and exacerbate the freeze-thaw cycle which cracks and pits pavements. Runoff from these chemicals contaminates our water supply.

Rock salt and ice melt damage cars by causing rust. Tracked into houses, they damage carpets. They're hazardous to humans, wildlife, and domestic animals.

I don't know where to walk my dog these days. Every few steps, she limps, stops, and tries to lick her paws. Nothing looks sillier than a dog wearing booties. But if the saltstorms don't abate, Taz might be sporting footwear on the street.



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