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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pet Peeve: Road Salt

It's December in New England, and so far we've had one piddly little dusting of snow.

The DPW was out in full force as though we had had a major blizzard, dumping road salt. Industrious maintenance workers from the church on one side of me and the apartments on the other did the same to the sidewalks. The next day, roads and sidewalks were still white, but not from snow!

I'm not sure which deicer was being put down. There's sodium chloride (plain old salt), calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and potassium chloride. They vary in how damaging they are to concrete, to aluminum, to vegetation, and to animals (people included!). But they're all some degree of bad.

All of these salts leach into groundwater, kill trees and other plants, prevent lakes from freezing, and harm aquatic life. They etch the bricks in the historic district around my house, get tracked into homes, damage carpets, and hurt the paws of Taz and other animals. Maintenance crews couldn't be bothered to wield a shovel any more; they're out with trucks and blowers making a racket and packing down as much snow as they push away.

Around my house, we shovel carefully (no snowblowers here) and sprinkle a little sand if we have to. It's no messier than salt, and completely natural. We don't make a racket, we don't spend a lot of money, we get plenty of exercise, AND we do a better job. Wake up, lazy people!



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