June 18, 2020
Grounded always had negative connotations when I lived at home with my parents. It generally implied I had done something wrong and now I was being punished. I grew up in the Dr. Spock era, so punishment was rarely punitive. Dr. Spock was an American pediatrician who wrote the book Baby and Child Care in 1946. His ideas about childcare influenced several generations of parents to be more flexible and affectionate with their children, and to treat them as individuals. This was a huge contrast to the Biblical mandate of the “spare the rod, spoil the child” in Proverbs 13:24, or the Victorian concept of children being “little Adults.” For me, it just meant I was not going to have any fun.
Fifty years later “grounded” has taken on a different meaning. Now when I think of grounded, I think of my garden. My plants need to be well grounded; they need to have good soil and deep roots to thrive. I have found this is the same with Melissa’s succulents. Many of Melissa’s plants are not hardy enough to survive outside even in the mild winters of Arkansas. There are some however, who will survive and even thrive from the stress the colder temperatures put them through. Each plant seems to have its own level of tolerance.
Today Melissa decided it was time to get some of the hardier plants into the ground. She sent a text around noon suggesting “if I had no other plans, perhaps I could weed the front bed and get it ready to plant the succulents.” I had other plans, but I know how much Melissa wants her succulents to thrive. After I finished some of my work, I weeded the bed and then waited to help put the plants into the ground after she came home from her work. It was a pleasant night and the hardy succulents were put in the ground, surrounded by pea gravel, and the rest of the bed was mulched. It was good to work together on this project she loves.
THOUGHTS: I took a course in linguistics in college. I was fascinated by how the same words took on different connotations given their context. Being a “newbie” gardener, I have also been fascinated by how similar the needs are of remarkably diverse plants, and how fragile similar plants can be to slight variations. The unrest we face is forcing us to reevaluate whether we face similar words with different meanings or similar concerns with fragile variations. This is a time to decide where you stand, and then find common ground as you share your views with others. If you venture out, stay safe.