Monday, June 24, 2013


It's interesting how a word can have different meanings depending on your vantage point. Take the word "ground" for example. "Ground" (noun) can be many things--it's the surface of the earth; soil; land designated for a specific purpose, e.g. burial grounds or parade grounds; the land around a building; you can hold your ground; grounds are a foundation for something; background; underlying condition--grounds for dismissal; a subject; sediment, such as coffee grounds; we ground wires to limit buildup of static electricity. Almost every sense of "ground" (noun) is positive, basic, foundational. Earthy. Healthy. Connected to the Good Earth.

"Grounded" can be used as an adjective. An internet search gives us this: [more grounded; less grounded] -- used to describe a person who is sensible and has a good understanding of what is really important in life. Sensible and down-to-earth; having one's feet on the ground. "She's trying to stay grounded despite all the fame and praise. She and her husband have a very grounded family." It's good to be "grounded" (adjective). I like to consider myself this way. I try to choose my path carefully, avoiding (when possible) the material things, the petty and plastic things. I'm not always successful, but this is my goal. I pride myself on being close to the earth and connected to nature. I like being "grounded" (adjective).

One could also be "well-grounded" (also adjective). Merriam-Webster says: [more well-grounded; most well-grounded] 1: having good training in a subject or activity. "She is well-grounded in Botany and Lepidoptery." I wouldn't mind being well-grounded in any number of subjects or activities that I love. Photography, birds, travel, literature, gourmet food, Florida History, wildlife ecology, music, art...I could go on.

"Ground" can also be used as a (verb) [+ obj]. You "ground" something. Bring it back to the earth. Back to reality. Sometimes punitively.  You can "ground" your theories on solid fact.  You can "ground" a kayak on a sandbar, or "ground" an airplane because there is some danger, such as lightning storms in the area. You "ground" an electric wire for safety. Or in baseball, "ground" the ball right to the shortstop. Or "ground" the football to avoid a tackle. It's curious that "grounding" (verb) a child is a form of punishment. I say curious, because it should be a good thing to help children connect with the earth. Children who spend time in nature (closer to the ground, closer to the earth) do better in school and are happier and more "grounded" (adjective). But for a child, being "grounded" (verb) is torture. Especially for teenagers, who probably need help being "grounded" (adjective) more than anyone.

This week, I find myself "grounded" (verb) in the airplane safety sense. I've been forced to stay indoors for a while to avoid annoying and irritating allergens, aggravated by summer heat and humidity, and it's driving me crazy. In my mind, I am "grounded"(verb) in the punitive sense. I really want to go out to collect more bird sightings for my June Challenge bird list, or check out the summer flowers and bugs in my favorite ditch. But I will regret it if I do. So if I can just change my point of view, I might instead be happy to use the time indoors to work on my home "grounds" (noun). Or I could work on becoming more "well-grounded" (adjective) in one of the many subjects and activities I want to work on. I'm trying to stay "grounded" (adjective), to be sensible, with a good understanding of what's important in life. I should appreciate the opportunity to read, clean, cook and organize. But I can't wait to get my feet back out on the "ground" (noun). Sigh.



  1. English major, let your freak flag fly!

    1. This is what happens when you spend too much time indoors!