Here’s some gravity at work. Some snow melt strikes a rock face and tears soil down with it. This is gravity working in open, unconstricted space. Note as well the salts on the rocks, from water that has evaporated away, drawn there by gravity and then evaporating into that unconstricted space and leaving the salt behind, which is only able to escape gravity by the force of the wind, or by the dissolving presence of water when it is caught by gravity and falls, picks up the salt, and keeps falling. Even so, the salt remains. It’s kind of an eternal particle, one that catches itself in substances with quite different relationships to gravity, flows with them for a time, and then, when they change natures, remains. And so the sea is salty. There’s salt in freshwater, too, but not as much. Freshwater is younger.
Now, look at the siyaʔ bush below. The sun is drawing water through narrow tubes within her, and her flowers follow it, but, like salt, only so far. Then they are left behind, frozen in shape, while the water that drew them up is gone, and while new water pours up through them. Each petal is like a river estuary!
Most of these left-behind structures are carbon and hydrogen, but there are mineral salts there as well, mined by the plant’s roots. None of them enter the sky. The water, however does. Where the ocean is the repository of salt, the ultimate gravitational survivor, the sky is the repository of cleansed water, the ultimate gravitational rebel. All the time water is rising into the sky. All the time, salt is settling in the sea. It’s surprising that this transformation hasn’t been put to wide technological use. Electron transfer is used to drive many energy systems. Water and salt transfer, not so much. What a shame. We could have an entirely different energy paradigm!