What Drives Me…
My Himalayan Salt Lamps

I want to get all my cards on the table before talking about me Himalayan salt lamps. The first is that I am Scottish and proud of my ancestry. Most non-Scots claim that Scottish people are cheap. I’m not cheap, but I am frugal. There is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal, at least for me. In addition, I love Scotland and have been there twice. I studied at New College of the University of Edinburgh for a year after graduate school in the States. I love Scotland and its people.

The second issue is that I am right brained, which explains my interest in the arts. I was a teaching assistant at Muskingum College during my senior year. I taught several subsections weekly and wrote and graded the midterms and finals for both semesters. During the last two decades, art history has been my favorite class that I have taught in the humanities.

Finally, having danced with death, I have come alive and follow Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture as if it was some holy scripture. One of Pausch’s commandments is always to show your appreciation to people. Don’t wait until someday to thank a person; do it now, because, someday, you won’t have a someday. Therefore, I do all that I can to stay healthy, but I know my clock is ticking.

Those three items have morphed together into my interest in Himalayan salt lamps. I got one for myself several months ago and have become mesmerized by it since that first day. In fact, I have two of them and am thinking about another one. These are the two that I have now.

Not only are they beautiful to look at. They weigh about 25-pounds and have a small 15 watt bulb, which actually warms the salt block. Now, you are probably saying to yourself, “What does this have to your dancing with death?” Hey, if you wrote this essay and I was reading it, I would wonder the same thing. The various companies that make the Himalayan salt lamps have many medical claims about their healing powers. I doubt whether all the claims have documentation of scientific tests, which prove many of the claims.

Nonetheless, the lamps are soothing and restful. Whether or not any of the actual scientific data proves the lamps’ medical attributes or not, I feel a sense of calming. It has cost me about $40 for each of my lamps, and I deem that expenditure to be worth it. Remember, I’m Scottish, and I am frugal. Additionally, Pausch’s commandment about showing your appreciation to someone has resulted in my giving over a half dozen people their own Himalayan salt lamp.

My web administrator, Sandy, works in Stockholm, Sweden. However, she was born in Pakistan and her parents still live there. When she was a youngster, her father took her to the Khewra Salt Mine, which is located in the Punjab district of Pakistan.

The salt cave

The Khewra Salt Mine is the largest and oldest salt mine in all of Asia. The tunnel in the mine is about a half mile into the mountain. It is estimated that the mine is approximately 43 square miles of salt. In addition, geologists estimate that there still remains 80-600 million tons of salt. Imagine the number of 25-pound salt lamps that still could be made.

One item, which I should have mentioned at the beginning of this essay is that in college, graduate school, and post-graduate school, I took only one science class. It was geology in my freshmen year at Muskingum College. Therefore, this is the best that I can do to explain the general issue of Pangea and how the Khewra Salt Mine was created.

This is Pangea morphing over millions of years.

The Pangea morphing over millions of years

The birth of the sub-continent of India

You will note that what is present-day India is moving north. This map is of what the world looked like 69.4 million years ago. You will notice a large island in the lower right of the picture called Greater India. Over millions of years the island of India moved into the Asian continent. In that process, it trapped an inland sea as India moved northward. Over time, the water evaporated, and the remaining salt and minerals were buried by the tectonic movement.

Another view of the salt cave

When I return to Myanmar during my winter break from teaching in 2019, Sandy is one of the Magnificent Seven who will be returning with me with 1250 laptops to the two schools that my three granddaughters attend. Before she returns to Stockholm and I return to Crown Point, we will visit her family in Pakistan and Khewra Salt Mine. We will be two people of the 250,000 tourists that visit the mine each year.

This video is of the Khewra Salt Mine:

This is a fascinating video of the development of Pangea from 250 million years ago and the scientific predictions of the future 250 million years.

TThis video starts in the present-day and goes back to the very beginning of Pangea but then moves to the present.