Ruminate is a verb describing two different activities: To chew repeatedly for an extended period and/or to go over in the mind repeatedly and often slowly.
Before dawn broke H. and I were in the kitchen eating breakfast. Slowly the sky became brighter and we could see more and more details in the yard. Among those details were two young white-tail does bedded down less than 50 feet from the house. They lay there for quite some time, closing their eyes and drifting off to sleep, then waking for a while before drifting off to sleep once again.
Eventually one doe rose and slowly wandered up the hill and out of sight. The other lay there and soon began to ruminate; in cattle that’s often called “chewing their cud”. Mammals that ruminate include cattle, deer, sheep and antelope. They eat vegetation that’s high in cellulose, chewing only enough to swallow the leaves, twigs and other items. Once swallowed, the material goes into the rumen where it begins to ferment. Later, the material is regurgitated to be chewed again before it is once again swallowed to pass further into the digestive system. Here’s that doe ruminating –
The other rumination is, hopefully, what many of us do when we contemplate the world’s major problems or life’s major decisions (and some minor ones too). It’s what I do or have done in contemplating how some politicians can deny climate change in the face of obvious changes; when thinking about whether to retire or not; trying to decide on how much of a camera I really need and how much to spend on it; and on and on.