Cheap and good daily necessity—salt
When I was a child, I used to see a woman with an extremely large neck in our village. Each time I saw her, I would involuntarily throw more glances to her. Later I asked my grandma, “why is her neck so big?” Grandma replied, “according to doctors, because she did not have enough iodized salt.”
When I was young, there were a fairly large number of imbeciles in the two neighboring villages. I asked my father, “Why are there so many retarded people in those two villages?” My father responded, “Possibly because they have had too much salt from Bayan Gully”.
Allow me to have a few words about my hometown here.
I spent my early childhood in my hometown where the Yellow River and Daxia River met. My family had a garden and orchard, where I could look westward at the spectacular view of “Yellow River falling from the sky”, which glittered in the sunshine. Northward, across the river there were the beautiful scenes of Wangjia Mountain and Wangjia Plain, and the flocks of horses, cattle, and goats on the shoals. In the south, the wire-pulled boats and the sheepskin rafts were ferrying passengers across Daxia River. In the east, cascades of houses were shaded and embraced by green trees. The two springs near the village were warm in winter and cool in summer. All through the year, clear and sweet water flows from these springs, and I grew up drinking the water from them.
“Everyone thinks that his hometown is the best”. But my hometown was extremely beautiful.
Unfortunately, my hometown has now become the territory of dragon king. The building of Liujiaxia Reservoir has created tremendous wealth for the five provinces and autonomous regions in northwest China, but at the same time sacrificed my hometown.
The building of the motherland needs everyone’s sacrifice, and this is very reasonable.
But what remains to be depressing is, dear motherland, you have forgotten the people who have dedicated their homeland.
I was barely a teenager when I left my beloved hometown and migrated to a new place, which was intersected with ravines. There was barren soil, endless desolation and no more beautiful sceneries. What remained were the primordial scenes of struggling for survival. My uncle had to leave for other places with my cousins and beg for food. These scenes are still vivid and fresh in mind, and each timeI I recall, my tears will run on my face.
Motherland, can’t you make some compensation for your faithful children who have sacrificed for you?
Yes, you can and you did. Every time you only gave us a set of Selected Works of Mao Zedong for consolation. Your representatives came fives times, so our family got five sets of Selected Works of Mao Zedong.
The spiritual power is infinite, and the force of example is immense. But you have overlooked the fact that we are merely ordinary people. Even if you have piled my house and courtyard with Selected Works of Mao Zedong, we still need food and clothes, need to get marry!
Motherland! Have you ever thought of the life of those poor people who have sacrificed their homeland for you when you spent hundreds of millions RMB decorating the Chang’an Avenue?
Now let me return to the topic.
There is a deep gully called Bayan Gulley near the two villages just mentioned. In the gully there flows a gurgling stream, not of clear spring water, but of salty and turbid water. In order to save a few coppers earned from selling eggs while having salt, the people there made salt from the water of Bayan Gully. The question whether the people in the two villages got retarded from eating the salt from Bayan Gully can be left to scientists. .
We can infer from the two examples that salt is extremely important to man.
In human history, the salt business was very profitable. Salt merchants were the symbol of wealth. Countless fights and wars have broken out between men for the control of salt origin and the channel of salt business. In ancient times, the soldiers were offered salt as a prize, and the laborers were also paid by salt. When salt became a rarity, it was more valuable than gold.
Just as water and air, none of us can live without salt. Our daily food can dispense with any other seasoning, but not salt. Apart from water and air, salt is the most important necessity for life among natural resources.
The main component of salt is sodium chloride. Rock salt, lake salt, salt bed salt, and sea salt may differ in their respective structures and composition. For example, the refined salt we usually purchase from stores is cubic crystal in structure, while the lake salt is polygonal crystal. The best salt should be sea salt made through the sunlight-caused evaporation of sea water. Such salt contains over 80 minerals needed by human body, including iodine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, aluminum, barium, chromium, iron, manganese, fluorin, zinc, nickel, copper, phosphor, and the like.
Salt is not only a superior seasoning and preservative, but also the key substance to keep us healthy and vigorous. Salt can help the digestion of food, and transfer the nerve impulses to muscle tissues. But consumption of too much salt will do damage to the heart, and cause high blood pressure and over weight as well as the decline of kidney function, the disorder of menstruation, and edema.
The most important thing for life is air. Without air man will die immediately, so there must be adequate supply of air to guarantee the viability of life. The second most vital thing is water. Without water man cannot survive for long, so there must be a great reserve of water to keep life going. The third most important thing for life is salt. Without salt man can survive for a longer time, but will die eventually of weak limbs and frail body. Therefore it is also necessary to have a certain amount of salt in store of which can be obtained with little effort. When we shop for salt, we will find that salt is lower priced in comparison with other goods. As for gold, pearls, and diamonds, they are only ornamentals for life and are not necessities, so they are scarce in amount and are not easily obtained.
If the sea water is not salty, there will not be salt on earth. Since sea water is inexhaustible, so we will never be short of salt.
Now let’s see. For life in nature, the more important things are, the greater are their supply; the less important thing are, the smaller are their supply—is this simply a matter of unconscious coincidence of nature? Or is a purposefully arrangement by some mysterious power?