By now, you all probably have heard of the horrific fire that engulfed Notre Dame and caused most of her to fall. Luckily, she still stands, proud and worn with history and soot and grime, ready for visitors to stare in awe and give their condolences to an iconic building.
The Notre Dame Cathedral isn’t my favourite part of Paris, but it is so ingrained in Parisienne life and tourism that Paris will feel empty, at least for a little while. My favourite spot to sit on the banks of the Seine and drink my coffee is right next to Notre Dame. Close to the hustle and bustle, the energy from tourists and locals, the beauty of Notre Dame looming behind me as I take in the history of the city.
Once of my favourite memories from Paris is when my friend and I, on our obligatory European tour, stopped behind Notre Dame for a quick rest. There, underneath the budded trees, a band was performing. My memory says it was classical music that drifted through the spring-awakened city as two tourists filled with naiveté embarked on a true trip of independence. But, I could be wrong on the music as memories seem to slide further from the truth every second. We weren’t there very long, at most a half hour, but it felt so beautiful and poetically perfect. The hint of blooms, the music, the first real taste of independence and culture, Notre Dame stood in the background, imposing nothing as the enchantress that she is.
Just like my memories are fading, things are disappearing faster than we can write about it. Machu Picchu is sinking, Notre Dame caught fire, the Amazon is being burned and cut-down and murdered, daily. Beautiful, wonderful creatures who have lived on this Earth longer than we have are becoming extinct, becoming endangered – the only thing we can hope for. As becoming endangered means we have a better means to protect them. Because, that makes sense, doesn’t it? Protect a species, or a building or forest, just before the brink of extinction? Not while they are healthy and vibrant?
The second time I saw Notre Dame: 2010
In the fall, I am to visit friend in Australia. She halfheartedly joked that we will have to see the Great Barrier Reef before it’s gone, forever. Because it will be. Not in tens of hundreds or thousands of years, but most likely in the near future.
While it’s easy to turn this into a post about saving the planet, that’s not what this is. This is a post about taking chances and doing what you want and need to do. Whether it’s in your career, your love life, or traveling (although some of the issues with historic sites is because of our recent obsession with all things travel). My parents waited years to plan a trip to Europe. I’ll have the pleasure of touring them around Nice and Paris later this year, but I won’t be able to include Notre Dame in that tour. Of course, we will still go see the remains, to see how fragile something that seemed so strong and concrete really is.
But, my parents will never be able to tour inside, unless Macron really makes sure it’s re-built. And, even so, will it be the same? They won’t be able to see the stained glass, the pews and columns that look as if they belong in a different time, because they did. They won’t be able to experience the shrouding of the mirrors in thick purple cloth before Easter, the sighs and wonderment as tourists walk through.
So important the architecture and artwork of this cathedral did I think it to be, photos of the Notre Dame take up 5 pages in my old-school photo album. Honestly, old school digital cameras just don’t do it justice. 2010.
I don’t want to wait until it’s too late. I never have. My patience is surprisingly high when dealing with the elderly, but extremely low when it comes to life goals, aspirations and dreams. I have never thought that I couldn’t do something if I truly wanted to do it. Why would I stay at home, wallowing in my insecurities and issues and what if’s when I could take the leap? Funny coming from someone who LOVES to stay at home and think about the what if’s. But, I’ve ended up ignoring them and going for it, anyways. I’ve never had a problem of doing exactly what I wanted. It’s taken me a while to get where I’m going in a lot of places in life, but I’m still trying to get there, even if it doesn’t look like it. If something interests me, I want to do it. I want to learn more about it and see how I can make it happen. Obstacles and glass ceilings have never existed in my mind; they’re simply issues you nudge out of the way as you look past them at your goal.
I don’t want another fire to break out and ruin something I haven’t seen yet. I don’t want it to break out at all, but especially not before I’ve experienced it. I don’t want the world to ruin the beauty that is nature because we were too stupid to do anything about. I don’t want to wake up one day when I’m old and grey ashamed that I didn’t do anything. I’ve already lived a pretty full life and am happy of the wonderful and strange things I’ve accomplished and experienced, but there’s still so much more to see and do.
Notre Dame gives me hope. For something to survive eight centuries filled with wars and revolutions and now a devastating fire, to still stand, proud and beautiful, daring you to make eye contact, it gives me hope.