Despite the incredibly cold temperatures here in Paris, we braved them for a trip to the zoo with family. Since, our prompt today is “hats,” I chose the one worn by my nice Alice today. It was a warm striped hat with a pompon on top and another on a string. A puffy coat and fur collar completed the outfit as we walked hand in hand through the zoo. We stopped for quite some time to enjoy watching the seals. She would peer through the glass at them as they swam around and when they swam too close, she’s let out a little cry and jump away. I got the entire experience on video, so I figured I’d also capture it in a loose little doodlewash as well. During the first hour in the zoo, we were the only ones there, and it was awesome. It was like we had the entire place to ourselves. As the day went on, we were only joined by another 15 people, so that feeling never really went away. Sure, it was bitter cold, so we were the only ones crazy enough to be there, but sometimes being a little crazy can make for the best day ever!
I adore animals and adoring them together with a little one is the best experience in the world. Throughout the day I would hear Alice shout “Tonton Charlie!” as she discovered something wonderful and wanted me to see it. Though there wasn’t a single animal present that I’d not seen at least once before in my life, each one felt new to me in that moment and like I was viewing it for the first time. Life’s never more beautiful than when you view it through the eyes of a child. She also wanted to race a bit so when the path was clear, which was quite often since we were practically the only ones in the zoo, we’d run to the next exhibit together. It was incredibly fun, and though I get very little sport back home, all of the walking had conditioned me well so I wasn’t even out of breath at the end. When we finished our visit, we visited the gift shop and Alice chose a plush zebra to take home with her. While we were having a coffee afterwards at a nearby café, Philippe suggested she name him “Zouzou,” which she liked, and so that became his name. We each then had to have our photo taken with Zouzou, of course, who was, by that point, something of a celebrity.
Next, we headed back underground to hop on the Metro together. We were only going the same direction for a few stops and then had to change to a different line. At this one, we were each going in the opposite direction, and so this was the very last moment on this trip that we would see Alice and her mother again. We said our goodbyes with bisous (kisses) and, upon my usual insistence, “big American hugs,” and then turned to journey down a completely different path. In that moment, my heart broke a little, as I found myself suddenly walking without that little hand in mine. I’d only held it throughout a single day, but it felt like something precious had suddenly gone missing. Family is one of the most amazing things in the world. There’s a mysteriously wonderful connection there, and with all of the words I tend to pen, in these moments, I realize I lack the words to truly describe it properly. What I do know is that there’s a love that’s warming my heart right now that will carry me through another year. A magical time when, once again, I’ll find myself racing past zebras with my lovely little niece, enjoying a day at the Paris Zoo.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Yellow Ochre, Vermillion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Terra Cotta, 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!