PITH + VIGOR: What is in a name? | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

Rochelle Greayer

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11/07/2014

PITH + VIGOR: What is in a name?

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What is in a name?
Metaphorically, I am drawn to the idea of the pith of a plant—it is the heart.
And vigor is one of those words that I find fun to say — everything about it is lively and spirited.

So when I discovered that these two words were once commonly used together (way back in the 1700s) it was a bit of a serendipitous moment.
Seems that the old term, ‘pith and vigor,’ is thought to be the etymological root of the saying “piss and vinegar”. Where with the later, we mean that something is a bit of a firecracker, pith and vigor meant something a little different.

The pith, being the central cylinder of the stem, is the essential heart of a flowering plant. It is a source of strength, vitality and vigor. You can’t logically have the later without the former.

But if you did have vigor without pith (as the original was perceived to mean) it would be like strength, with an absence of fear or concern.

What does PITH + VIGOR mean to me? It is a sassy sort of can do attitude that emanates from every gardener I know. It is the grit and grace and elegance that lies deep in every landscape and the wisdom of the people who tend and manipulate them. It is getting your hands dirty and being part of a movement that is spirited and beautiful. It is believing that nothing can stop you.

-Rochelle

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