Ruminating and Rambling

Thursday, February 8            

Etymology is just part of my fascination with words.  Some words are especially graphic—moonshine, flaky, picturesque.  And we have oxymorons—sweet sorrow, open secret, found missing, alone together, liquid gas, clearly confused, and jumbo shrimp.  Add to that all kinds of figures of speech—metaphors, similes, hyperbole, analogy, parables, fables, anthropomorphisms.   I ruminate on this kind of thing.  We also have synonyms—each one with a slightly different slant.  I often use the word “ruminating,” but also use “meditating” and “rambling,” all of which have to do with mentally exploring an idea or concept.  I got to meditating on “ruminating” the other day.  Ruminate comes from the cow’s practice of chewing its’ cud.  So ruminating takes a single thought and goes over and over it, looking at it from various perspectives so as to get the most meaning out of it.  Meditating is similar, but goes off into related perspectives to flesh out or expand the meaning.  Rambling explores an idea without any boundaries or limitations.  It roams at will, not knowing where it will end up.  By the time you get to a stopping place, you probably have forgotten how it all started.  All three of these can be productive, and can also be a waste of time.  I don’t worry about that.  I continue to ruminate, meditate and ramble.

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