For our prompt of “Barefoot” today, I opted for that moment just before shedding a pair of flip flops and running through the sand. My mind leaps back to moments spent by the ocean and the sounds of waves crashing nearby mixed with that impossible feeling of solitude and warmth. I adore the beach, though I don’t often get to visit one. Perhaps, that’s part of the reason it seems so magical. Like most things in life, it’s the rarest experiences that hold the most allure. I remember enjoying several days in Vieques, an island in Puerto Rico. There were many different beaches and the feeling changed drastically depending on the beach you happened to be enjoying in the moment. That’s the amazing thing about an island, it’s like experiencing an entire continent in a matter of days. And for my part, I snorkeled for time ever, got stung by some disagreeable seaweed and had the time of my life! It was a wonderful experience that I can still remember vividly today. Times like this are rather rare so they carve out a special place in my heart. I certainly vowed at the time to return, but I’ve never done so. Yet, I have to wonder if reliving moments can ever compare to that very first time.
These days, I have a habit of always looking for something new to do. As much as I love to revisit things from my past in my stories, I thrill to new adventures. It’s fun to explore something new and have that singularly awesome experience of enjoying something for the very first time. What strikes me more is that there are so many things I’ll never get to experience in my time on this planet. There are just too many things for one human to ever encounter. Sure, those with lots of fame and money get to experience much more of the world. But, I feel rather happy with what I’ve managed to encounter in this life. There are tons of things I’d love to do on my list of things I’d love doing before I depart. When I launched my Shiny Trio with Da Vinci Paint Co., I talked about my Bucket List, that list you create of things you’d like to do before you die. I said I’d like to publish an illustrated memoir, go on an African safari, and learn how to speak French properly. To my own surprise I did publish an illustrated memoir and therefore got to check one thing off the list! And, I have a vague feeling that an African safari will happen long before I can ever speak French properly.
Dreams like these are amazing. They don’t define us as much as propel us forward. It’s the very idea that something “could” happen that makes living something of value. My actual Bucket List is too long to list, and I’m fully aware that I will accomplish only a fraction of what’s there. But these lists, to me, are not about completion, but more about inspiration. A reminder to myself that I should always aim a bit higher than what I even think is possible. To me, only believing in the easy or possible things feels a bit like giving up. There’s a wild world of possibility out there and the only difference between those who experience it and the rest of us is simply in the DOing! What we actually DO is what makes those incredible journeys possible. And even if we don’t manage to get to that peak of whatever it was we were trying to achieve, we’re far better off for having taken the steps to get there. Making art can often feel like taking just a few steps forward and several hundred backward. But, the reality is quite different. When we make something new, the steps always go forward. Sometimes, they take a very different path than we intended, but it’s still a path forward. A new path, that was just discovered under the glow of a summer sun, as we shed our flip flops and start gleefully running barefoot through the sand.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!