Tag Archives: procrastination

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