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Mon Apr 15, 2019, 06:18 PM

An thread from twitter about the meaning of the loss of Notre Dame

source--https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1117854933120737285.html

It's 4 tweets, so I think it fits

As we see the sad pictures of Notre Dame de Paris in flames, I am thinking of all the times people have asked me why I love churches and cathedrals, when I'm not really religious in any way.
Part of it is that they are historic documents, enormous stone texts left to us by not just one society, but an overlay of many, down through the long years. They have grand and humble messages for us from people long ago.


Beyond that, though: these are places that have been special to people, often for an intersection of reasons, for centuries. In Eglise St-Etienne, in Caen, I was in a place that had been important space to people for nearly a thousand years.
That leaves a footprint, carries a weight that you can feel in the place. You don't have to share the beliefs of the people who built the structure, or had moments of their lives there, to be able to feel and identify with the meaning they have laid into it.


Old buildings are achievements of architecture, they are treasures to the historian, they are beautiful, and they are monuments to what we can accomplish, when something is seen to be important. It took around 100 years to build Notre Dame de Paris.
People worked on that building knowing they would probably not live to see it finished. We don't often work on projects of that scope, any more, but dedicating ourselves to a task that only people in the future will see the benefit of may be a perspective we badly need, right now


Anyway. These places have facets to them that go beyond any one intended purpose, and anything that is lost is lost forever. I think it will be a long time before anyone builds something to last 800 years again.
I have been profoundly fortunate in all the time I have been able to spend in wonderful spaces like that over the years. I have treasured them all, and it makes me deeply sad any time we lose one for ourselves, and the future.

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Reply An thread from twitter about the meaning of the loss of Notre Dame (Original post)
irisblue Monday OP
Siwsan Monday #1
fierywoman Monday #2
Big Blue Marble Monday #4
Lonestarblue Monday #7
dhill926 Monday #3
Hekate Monday #5
BigmanPigman Monday #6
LAS14 Monday #8
Ligyron Monday #9
akraven Monday #10
Decoy of Fenris Monday #11

Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 06:36 PM

1. It's hard to put into words how I feel about these ancient structures

I love touching seeing, breathing in history. To stand in the middle of Stonehenge (which I was lucky to do, once), to gaze at the tomb of someone like Edward the Confessor, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, to walk the hallway, at Hampton Court Palace, that Queen Catherine Howard fled down to beg her husband for her life, and walk through Westminster Hall, where so many Medieval and Renaissance, Royal celebrations took place - for me, the energy, of those individuals and those events are still there. I even went on a 'Jack the Ripper' walk, once, and had a drink at the 10 Bells, where the story is some of Jack the Ripper's victims were known to frequent. Maybe he also enjoyed a drink, there?

So, seeing the near destruction of such a glorious, historic building took the breath out of me, and is absolutely painful, in so many ways.

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 06:37 PM

2. I'm not religious either (I'm a lapsed Methodist.)

But I am a classical musician, and I've played a lot of concerts in churches of all sizes. What I always felt within a church were the prayers of the people who had come there to worship -- not the power structure of the church, but the walls always felt saturated with prayer. And what I noticed in old churches like Notre Dame (yes, I've been there several times) was that the feeling was even stronger.

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 07:00 PM

4. I, too, have felt this energy at cathedrals all over Europe.

but, never as much as at Notre Dame. I am not a religious person, but so easily connected with
the prayers and hopes of all of those who stood in these sacred places over the centuries. And when
I took my jewish husband to Notre Dame on our wedding trip, he was most surprised that he,
too, felt it.

I thought of that energy today as I watched the fire releasing the energy that has been
stored in wood of the church for over 800 years and wondered if it too was being released.

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 08:24 PM

7. Some years ago, I was fortunate to attend a concert at Sainte Chapelle in Paris.

It was a royal chapel and has gorgeous stained glass windows all around. The music was beautiful, but the sense of wonder at seeing something so old and so beautiful was overwhelming. I just wanted to breathe it all in. If you get back to Paris, itís quite close to Notre Dame and well worth a visit if you haven't seen it.

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 06:49 PM

3. K & R....

really well said...

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 07:36 PM

5. "It will be a long time before anyone builds something to last 800 years again."

This is a beautiful tribute -- thanks for bringing it here.

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 08:20 PM

6. It is both History and Art/Architecture.

You don't need to be religious to appreciate and value them.

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 08:33 PM

8. k & r

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 09:06 PM

9. Carved stone.

Carved by actual humans who dedicated a lifetime to their craft, their trade.

Not a lot of that type detail being incorporated into today's architecture. Just steel and glass mostly. Sterile.

However, it wasn't that long ago - our grandfathers or great grandfathers perhaps, who came here from Europe where those skills were still taught and used. Incorporated into the skyscrapers and buildings of New York City and Chicago that were built of actual stone - masterpieces. You can see they wanted to do something special for their new home in a new world where anything was possible.

But, yeah - we'll probably not see their like again.

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Response to irisblue (Original post)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 11:24 PM

10. There is a very little bitty church downtown here.

It means TONS to all of us - and always will.

Even if it means shoveling snow!

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Response to akraven (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 15, 2019, 11:27 PM

11. Thanks for kicking this. I hadn't seen it. A KnR from me as well. n/t

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