Lonely petunia – A case for action


/ˈækʃən/ [ak-shuh n] –noun

1. the process or state of acting or of being active: The machine is not in action now.
2. something done or performed; act; deed.

1300–50;  < L āctiōn-  (s. of āctiō ), equiv. to āct ( us ) (ptp.; see act) + -iōn- -ion;  r. ME accioun  < AF < L

Action only happens in the now. Taking action (really doing something) and thinking about taking action (good intentions, plans, goals all that) are two very different things. The future created by action, is very different from the future of intending to take action. I was just recently reminded of this fact.

“Action is eloquence.” – William Shakespeare

Lonely PetuniaA few days ago on my walk with Chloe, I saw this lovely little flower. It was lonely pink petunia, all by itself in a neglected, untended dirt side yard. I saw it and loved it instantly. It wasn’t cared for or fertilized. It wasn’t planted. It wasn’t a part of well-thought-out flower bed. It was just this lovely little flower. All alone. Surrounded by nothing by but tan, dry dirt, displaying its cheery self to an indifferent world. “Awwww, how sweet…a lonely petunia.” And then I loved not only the flower, but the phrase – lonely petunia.

I wanted a picture of it, but didn’t have my camera. No worries, I’ll come back by and get it on the next walk. That was a week ago or more. I walked past, again without my camera, three or four times. Each time thinking “It looks healthy, not like the bloom will fade anytime soon – I’ll get it next time.”

Then a couple mornings later over coffee, I thought again of my lonely petunia. Its image and phrase had kept coming back to me. Time to finally go get that picture. Now. No more waiting. Note: This was August. Summer in Seattle, and it was raining. Really raining. Not just sprinkles raining. Gray, cold, windy, reminding-you-of-November raining. But I was determined not to wait any longer to get that picture of my lonely petunia.

On with the Gortex and rain boots, remember the camera, and down the street I go. Just a few short blocks. I’m wet already. Here we are – only….you guessed it…My lonely petunia is gone. Someone or something has plucked it. It was just gone. Done. No more lonely petunia. In my procrastination I had missed it and all that it represented.

It was still raining and raining hard, and I stood there. Stood there looking at the empty dirt all around, and the bare green petunia plant and just stared. I stood there and stared for a long time. How long? Long enough to feel sad. Long enough to feel disappointed in myself. Long enough to wonder – How silly must I look standing in the rain looking at a bare petunia plant? Long enough to know that somehow the plucked petunia had a lesson for me, and that I was determined to stand there long enough to learn it.

Men are what they are because their characters, but it is in action that they find happiness or the reverse.” –Aristotle

I started to see, it wasn’t a picture of a flower that I had missed. What I had missed was a moment of now. I had missed a precious, creative moment of taking action, moving with and toward something that had inexplicably and insistently called to me – for no other reason than that it had called. I had been called by something. I heard it, but instead of acting, I waited. And because I waited, I would never get to see where that calling would have led, or what it had to show me.

I stood there long enough to realize that this wasn’t the first time, and probably wouldn’t be the last. I stood there long enough to realize that even though I didn’t have the picture of my lonely petunia, its image and lesson would to stay with me. Reminding me to move, to take action without waiting into the next moment of now.

What about you?

  • Are you in danger of finding a plucked petunia?
  • What action is calling you now?


Filed under Action, Words

15 responses to “Lonely petunia – A case for action

  1. Simply beautiful. Simply true. What are we waiting for anyway?

    • itsleisa

      Andrea – So glad you like it. Why, waiting for the right time, of course. : – ) As if there was any other time than now.

  2. Great piece, MyFriend!

    There are a couple of art ways that have been calling me and I’ve been resisting. I think I’ll dive in NOW…

  3. This is such a lovely post, Leisa, and so eloquently illustrates how many of us live our lives. We wait for the “perfect” moment, or procrastinate because something else seems more important. What a beautiful reminder that NOW is the only NOW we have. Living within it is the best way to experience life. And then, once in the Now, those opportunities we used to put off gain their rightful importance in our lives.

    I loved the image you painted – of the lonely petunia in a sea of brown dirt. How many of us have lives that seem the same way? And we can’t see the petunia, because we’ve become so conditioned to only seeing the dirt?

  4. Fantastic post, Leisa!

    My children always cringe when I say, “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow”. But I think my point is well taken. Who really knows what tomorrow will bring? I certainly don’t! Only God knows … and He’s not talking. 🙂

    People sometimes say that it’s risky to live in the here and now. Not me. All the yesterdays are cancelled checks and we can’t go back and live them again. The tomorrows are a mystery so we’re left to make the most of today and take action on what’s important to us, what matters the most, what we’re passionate about, and what feeds are souls.


  5. Deborah Gabbert

    Love it! Thank you for the ripe lesson!

  6. Shelly

    I grew up with two older brothers. Often they’d run off to play without me. When I moped my mom would call me the lonely worm. I wish she’d have called me the lonely petunia — way prettier.

    Great piece, Leisha. I got the message. Go, be, do. And now.

    • itsleisa

      Thanks, Shelly. Yes, I thought the phrase was so pretty, I even tried to get the domain name – in case I ever wanted to start a band or something – ha – but it was already taken. Glad you enjoyed. And….I love you Go, Be, Do, Now! Gonna use that.

  7. Pingback: Fear, Action, and Happiness: The Personal Development Five for Friday — LymanReed.com

  8. Leisa,

    What a great post. I love that you are captured by the power of a phrase and are able to use that to illuminate such as important lesson!

  9. Hey Leisa
    What a beautiful image…;i could actually picture your look of dismay when you realised that you had missed your chance. Too well I know that feeling…but once we have learned the lesson…up we get and off we go again! Thanks

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