I usually hear this phrase at the end of someone’s celebrity-sighting story, as in, “She/He was so down to earth!!! This is said as though one had witnessed an unusual occurrence, an anomaly, or a private insight into who the celeb “really is.” But what does it mean, exactly?
I looked it up, to check the origin of this phrase, aware that there are so many clichés and sayings that we use on a daily basis but do not know exactly what they mean. After searching for “down to earth,” I found that there really wasn’t a particular origin—just a few ideas that it came from a movie, and a few Urban Dictionary-type definitions suggesting that it means “someone who is not pretentious or affected, someone who is straightforward, simple in style.”
So, (ahem), due to the fact that I could not find a true origin or author to this phrase, I feel as though I have license to create my own, or at least give it a whirl amidst my rambling opinions. Therefore: what follows is this pedestrian’s definition of “down to earth.”
We are all here on this Earth, this terra firma. We are driving on it, we are walking on it (although we are walk mostly on cement that was poured on the earth); we are building on it; we are looking at it and taking pictures of it. But how many of us are actually in contact with the earth itself on a given day?
When is the last time you actually touched dirt? Or pulled a weed and saw the intricate workings of the roots (weeds matter too…)? There is something that happens to us when we come in contact with the earth; the smell of the earth triggers something in us that is instinctive to all humans. We gain perspective and feel innately more connected. We are literally grounded when the soles of our feet touch the earth, and our souls are grounded as well. For one to be down to earth, it means you respect the earth; you understand its power, and are humbled by it. In nature, all is equal, and all is important. Therefore, you treat other people as though all are equals—no one better than another. You treat everyone and everything around you with respect.
Since, in my opinion, down to earth is a positive, not a negative, description of a type of person, I propose that the origin of this phrase came directly from someone who was describing none other than a…..
The farmer is one who tills the soil; one who is humbled by forces bigger and grander than he is. The farmer plants and cares for the seed, but the ultimate fate of that seed is left to sun and wind and rain; forces that are beyond the farmer’s control.
Creekside Farms is proud to be a farming family, passing down from generation to generation love and respect for this earth. It is a good thing to have our feet on the ground.
If you have a few minutes, here are some fun and interesting reads about the origins of some familiar phrases: http://theriflebird.com/people/have-you-ever-heard-the-term-piss-poor-i-had-no-idea-it-comes-from-this-fascinating/)