Salt Lick


There were five or six of them in the pasture, square and pink, held to the ground with a metal stake.
If you grew up around cattle and horses, you probably already know what they are: salt blocks or licks.
As kids we would not, could not leave them well enough alone, and that’s why they were set to the ground like they were.
And as gross as it might sound, it began innocently enough as a dare: “Lick it.”
Who did it first, I cannot recall, but soon we would each hack small chips from the blocks and suck on them throughout the day.
Once our parents learned of this behavior, they’d tell us, “You’re gonna sick,” and such.

This is some 50 years in my past…

Looking to where I’m sitting now — 2020 — isolated from work, family, neighbors, waiting in line at the grocery stores, six feet apart, I’m struggling with a profound sadness that we’ve fallen into this ‘wont helplessness.’
There’s a deep longing in my soul, spirit, my heart, my head, for those days so long ago.
And would you like to know a funny fact?
Not one kid in my neighborhood ever got sick or died from licking a used salt block.

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