“Well, you know…what a guy could do…”
That’s my dad’s voice coming from some Sunday shaded chair on his front deck. The breeze blows the wind chimes and his voice lilts with tones of expansive potential. Creation: Stage One. The inspiration, the brainstorm, the imaginings. The spark of fire it takes to ignite anything that will have its becoming.
I love it when he talks like this. When anyone does, really. When any of us start to stretch our vision to new places. When an idea takes hold and begins to unfurl to scapes unknown and boundless.
I recently learned about a place in Southern France that started as one such vision for a postman named Ferninand Cheval. He was not an architect or a builder but he created a phenomenal structure that he would call “Le Palais idéal” (the “Ideal Palace”) in Hauterives.
The story goes that the idea struck him when he tripped on a stone. After that toe-stubbing moment, it was 33 years and a wheelbarrow.
His creations are incredible. Some would categorize his work as “naive art architecture,” meaning, it was created without any formal training or refined technique.
Maybe for dreams as inspired as Cheval’s, one needs to be a bit naive. Forget the naysayers. He built a palace one stone at a time.
You know…what a guy (or gal) could do…