Sunday, August 20, 2006


te·nac·i·ty (t -n s -t ) KEY NOUN:
The state or quality of being tenacious:

te·na·cious (t -n sh s) KEY ADJECTIVE:
Holding or tending to hold persistently to something, such as a point of view.
Clinging to another object or surface; adhesive:

I don’t know if I’ll have a picture to go with this post, but this is the word that came to mind when I got out of the car on Saturday afternoon and noticed, growing by the side of the road, next to a crack in the asphalt, a beautiful little yellow flower. There were no similar flowers nearby in any of the yards or gardens on the street, and this one, with a few little leaves on its tiny stem, was poised precariously on the brink of death. Any moment a car could come by and squash it out of existence, and yet there it was growing with every ounce of strength it possessed – tenacious.

I ran in the house to get my digital camera and I did actually take three shots of the flower. For some reason, when I went inside and tried to load them into the computer, they were gone. I tested the camera and it worked fine taking random pictures in the house, so I wonder if perhaps part of the little flower’s power is that it may be effectively invisible – which is why no one has stepped on it, or picked it, or run it over.

The little flower made me think about two important concepts. One, the tenacity of life. Our planet is amazing in that life will find a toe hold almost anywhere – the driest deserts, the coldest glaciers, the most toxic volcanic vents – something will find a way to survive there. Life persists. That thought led me to the second concept – writing for a living takes persistence. Tenacity. It’s not easy. You have to find a precarious toe hold and put down roots. You have to be prepared for rain, large rubber tires and sneakered feet, maybe even a hungry creature looking for a quick snack. You know you won’t last forever, nothing does, but you dig in and hang on and hope that you’ll be around long enough to produce a seed or two that will grow even after you’re gone.

Funny how a little yellow flower can say all that.

I went back outside later on, but the flower had closed up in anticipation of a short rain storm. I was bummed. However, I haven’t forgotten it and I will try again to get the picture. I’m tenacious that way.

Sunday update: I went out today and the little yellow flower had met its untimely demise. Squashed - maybe because I was rude enough to see it and make note of its existence. Oh well. I regret not getting the picture, but maybe I wasn't meant to. Now I have to just remember that the flower existed and learn from it that way.

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