Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday Ramble - Radical

This week's word is radical, a natural choice for this madcap season when greenery is popping up all over the place, and we are thinking about planting packets of seeds and flats of flowers, herbs and veggies into our gardens.  It comes to us through the late Latin rādīcālis meaning having roots, and the Old English wrotan meaning to root, gnaw or dig up, both entities originating in the early Indo-European wrad meaning branch or root. Having said all that, it will not be safe to seed or plant anything this far north until the end of May. This week, we had snow again, lucky us.

Synonyms include: fundamental, basic, basal, bottom, cardinal, constitutional, deep-seated, essential, foundational, inherent, innate, intrinsic, native, natural, organic, original, primal, primary, primitive, profound, thoroughgoing, underlying, vital. They also include pejorative words such as anarchistic, chaotic, excessive, extremist, fanatical, far-out, freethinking, iconoclastic, immoderate, insubordinate, insurgent, insurrectionary, intransigent, lawless, left wing, militant, mutinous, nihilistic, rabid, rebellious, recalcitrant, recusant, refractory, restive, revolutionary, riotous, seditious, severe, sweeping, uncompromising and violent.

Those of us who live a little differently are sometimes called "radical".  Ditto those who live outside the mainstream or "off the grid", who don't follow accepted social standards and tend to do their own thing rather than just placidly following the herd like a bunch of sheep. In the sixties, being called "radical" was mostly a compliment, but these days it is often pejorative.

How odd that a word used to describe the unconventional, independent, mildly eccentric and downright peculiar actually means something as lovely, organic and simple as "rooted". Do I consider myself radical? Anyone who writes, paints, sketches, takes heaps of bad photos, rambles in the woods in all sorts of weather and talks to trees is a tad peculiar, so I suppose I am.

Our word signifies a bone deep kinship with everything that matters in this dear little blue world. It's about the good dark earth under our feet and the sky over our heads, the sun and the moon and the stars. It's about timeless notions of rebirth, transformation, belonging, community and non-duality.

Roots down, branches up and away we go...


Barbara Rogers said...

Thanks. I always learn something when you delve into the meanings of a word. That's so rad! (Not something I'd say, but I expect my grandchildren would.)

Tabor said...

That tree has sooooo many stories to tell. Wish I talked tree.