When I was kid, I used to see dogs in the park rushing to capture a frisbee in their mouths. It was thrilling to watch them rush with glee and sometimes even leap into the air to catch it. Then they’d excitedly return, practically smiling, as though they’d accomplished something that’s never before been done. Each new time, was like the first time and just as incredible as the last. While this level of resilience seems easy for our furry friends, humans sometimes have trouble seeing the world this simply. In my little mind, as a kid, it just felt like all dogs have hope. Catching that frisbee wasn’t an act of physical prowess, but a leap of faith. A faith that was unshakable. This meant that, most every time, that little dog in the park would be successful in catching that frisbee. At the time, I remember thinking how on earth could that be possible? It was incredible to think about really. That anything might be just within reach if we only had the hopeful stamina to believe in the possibility that it might actually happen. I grew up believing that anything in life is possible. And as much as I love to look backward, I’m really looking forward most of the time. Looking for that next shiny bit of hope on the horizon that guides me on to the next step in this crazy journey of life.
Today, Philippe texted me that “Notre Dame was burning down!” and I thought it must be code for something else. I quickly got online and discovered that it was actually true and watched live as the building was engulfed in flames and the spire toppled to its side. I’ve walked by Notre Dame nearly every year for the past seven years, so I was a bit numb in that moment. What was happening? Something so historic and iconic was burning before my very eyes. I realized that in all of my visits, I’d only made a quick brush pen sketch early on when I first started sketching. After my moment of shock, I reminded myself that nothing lasts forever, but nothing adored ever goes away. Notre Dame was damaged and neglected during the French Revolution, and later, in 1831, a writer named Victor Hugo would publish a book entitled Notre-Dame de Paris which was changed in English to The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The book spurred the first large-scale renovation of the structure, and it was currently in the midst of another when the fire broke out.
Philippe and I were both speechless at first this evening, but then we considered all of the history that came before this. It’s a rich history of resilience and we both took heart that no matter what happened, history would indeed repeat itself. It always does. And, in this case, that’s very good news. Notre Dame will return, perhaps this time, more resilient than ever. It’s a pattern that takes a bit more time for humans, but it always occurs. We always go back to claim our prize. We forget about any setback and come back stronger than before it ever happened. We’ve always done this, and we’ll do it again in the usual fashion. So, no matter what occurs, people will rally to make something new and wonderful happen. After all, it’s what we’ve always done. My heart goes out to my Parisian friends and family, but it’s a heart full of new beginnings. I still have to believe that anything is possible, when we take that step back so we can rush forward to catch a bit of hope.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, Cobalt Blue, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. 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!