My year of benched sitting is ending.
Last week, while relaxing in Piedmont Park in downtown Atlanta, I had time to ponder what I’ve learned since I started writing about benches one year ago. And though it can’t cover all the nuances of what I’ve been taught, my Piedmont outing brought home two key lessons.
As I made my way through the park and around the lake where romance blossomed,
and the skyline was dramatically framed,
I was hoping to find an empty swing that were scattered about in the shade.
Ultimately I settled on a lakeside bench to take in the water and the magnificent magnolias nearby.
As I watched, into my view a family of geese swam, creating a lovely image. They reminded me of the first great lesson of bench-sitting: if you wait, an interesting moment will find you. I have a tendency to overthink things, wanting to plan out what will happen at any given place. It’s been good for me to allow room for the unexpected.
Then, as I got up to leave, I made the decision to go back and talk more with Fabian. I had passed the young stranger on the way in, stopping briefly when I noticed his sketchbook. I had asked him about his art and got him to show me his favorite drawing. My compliment about his work, he said, made his day.
When I returned to him, I sat down. I took more time. I asked if I could draw him something, then sketched out a portrait of him – to his great amusement – with space for him to add his own details.
And this is the second great lesson I’ve learned: sometimes you have to go find the interesting moment. Though it may seem contradictory, it actually is a nuance of the first truth. That moment that comes along often requires an action – an outside-the-comfort-zone response. It might be looking foolish while dramatically photographing a rather ordinary family of geese. Or it might be taking the time to engage with a stranger.
The key is to put yourself in a place long enough for Opportunity to sidle up, whisper and wink. I think he much prefers that to knocking.
And so, the year is up. Am I done? Is this it for my posts?
That depends, a fair bit, on you. If you have been reading these posts and enjoying them – I’ll keep going. My larger questions about my art remain unanswered, and there are multitudes of benches left for me to find. But I’ll only continue if there’s a purpose beyond a personal musing.
What do you think? I'd like your perspective.
While you ponder, I think I’ll sit down over here and wait. Something interesting is bound to happen.