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Sometimes what is beautiful and what is good aren’t overlapping Venn diagrams. The soft greenblue of road salt against the sewer cover’s rust makes for a lovely palette, but is distinctively unlovely in just about every other way.

I’ve noticed the over-salters are also the under-shovelers, the (likely, hopefully) well-intentioned neighbors who neither follow news about the health of our waterways nor walk on our sidewalks. Their spray of salt is an offering to those of us on foot, but whenever the DOT takes a cue from the FDA to make a Pyramid of Snow Clearance, salt will be that tiniest top triangle, “use sparingly,” above sand and even hatchets (for the first time, I saw someone using a hand axe/hatchet clear ice chunks on the sidewalk this winter and suddenly the whole world is new again!). As someone allergic to some of these salts (I break out in hives where they touch my skin), I’m particularly eager for more people to realize that salt is no substitute for even the least skilled shoveling!

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