When presented with a prompt of “park bench” for today, my mind immediately went to having a quick little lunch from a local grocery store. As odd as this seems, when I was first visiting Philippe in Paris years ago he was busy during the day and I was left to wander the streets alone. Eating alone in a restaurant every day wasn’t something I wanted to do, so I would duck into the nearest little supermarket and grab the first thing I saw in the front. Then I would stroll to a city park and sit on a bench enjoying my random snatched snack. Since I was walking quite a lot, I figured orange juice was a good energy boost, but if it wasn’t right in front of me, I’d just grab some sparkling water instead. So, that’s why we have this fast and quick doodlewash of some sort of sandwich and a bit of juice in honor of this memory. Some days, I would get a bit lonely, but I loved taking these breaks to just sit and enjoy whatever happened to be happening in front of me.
This ritual took place over five years ago now. Since that time, so much has changed in our lives. We’re now living in America and living a perfectly ordinary life with none of the drama that proceeded it. In those days, when I was sitting on that bench, I would dream about a time much like I’m living today. My heart told me that it was all going to happen, but my mind, no doubt fueled by the orange juice, was alert, and questioning whether my dream was even possible. As I’d sit on that bench, I would take thoughtful bites, playing out scenarios in my head. Not just the beautiful dream scenarios, but the terrifying worst-case scenarios as well. To anyone casually passing by, I was simply some random American guy, sitting on a bench, eating a cheap sandwich. But, in reality, I was a guy in love, sitting in a city known for romance, scared and alone with absolutely no idea about was going to happen next.
I’ve always been one to take big risks in life, even when it comes to matters of the heart. Not everything in my life has always worked out like I wanted it to, but for the most part, it has. My motto to simply “DO” or just go for it has honestly served me well. And even when the amazing things I dream fail to happen, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I tried. And while I may still suffer a good string of disappointments for all my dreaming and trying, there’s one thing I never have to endure. Regret. Looking back at my life, I honestly haven’t a one. I’m made a valid attempt to chase every dream that I’ve had swimming around in my muddled brain and many of them have come true! And I haven’t even ruled out the ones that failed to happen yet. There’s still time. When I have those little nagging doubts, the ones that tear at my confidence and make me wonder if I actually have a vision or am just crazy, I simply stop for a moment. Setting those thoughts aside I travel back in my memory to a time when I had the same doubts, yet managed to make all those dreams come true. Those sunny, often lonely days, sitting in quiet contemplation, having a simple little lunch on a park bench.
About the Doodlewash
M. Graham Watercolors: Gamboge, Permanent Green Pale, Burnt Sienna, Azo Orange, Ultramarine Blue and Neutral Tint. Alvin Draft-Matic Mechanical Pencil in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.