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Mortar and Pestle

Today I ground my own salt. It’s a beautiful thing to take the time to do this by hand. To pour rock salt into the mortar and create the continuous, slow circular rhythm that yields the fine granules. This morning, this process, this reflection, grounded me, slowed me, helped me to breathe and see another unexpected focus on thankfulness.


This week was hard. I felt an increased intensity of feelings as we moved past the 4th week of required sheltering-in due to the COVID-19 pandemic; bored, lonely, stressed and afraid. I haven’t been to the store in a month. I’m afraid to go. Afraid of what the news is telling me about hidden things I can’t control. I have food, and all that I need, since I still have my farm box of veggies, fruit and eggs delivered each week, but there are a few things I’ve been running out of, and this week, that was salt.


I had forgotten that I had rock salt in my pantry, stored there still from before my separation when it was standard to buy bulk for my family. Thankful. The mortar and pestle was a surprise gift from my daughter when she was a teenager. Only your daughter, or someone who truly takes time to see you and know you, could buy you a gift like this. The kind of gift that prompts, “Oh my gosh!!! I have always wanted one of these! It’s so ME!” I love it and it sits on my counter just as something beautiful should be displayed, but I don’t use it often, caught in the busyness of life and work, that doesn’t necessitate slowing. But today my focus shifted. Thankful.


I have been buying ground salt in recent years, however, this morning I poured the bits of rock salt into my mortar and slowly ground it by hand. As I took my time, resting into the process to get an even, consistent grind, my mind began to rest as well, and I remembered these things I’m thankful for. I wouldn’t have slowed to this process had I been in the usual busy work life and just gone to the store to buy already-ground salt. This pandemic, this fear, is what brought me to this place of reflection.


Today I’m thankful for rock salt in the back of my pantry and the beautiful memory of this mortar and pestle, a gift from my daughter and her heart behind it.

Today I’m thankful for the soul-healing, slow process of grinding my own salt.




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