Among My Souvenirs

Stories of the road


I began writing this blog almost two years ago as a result of the fire that my daughter and family had experienced in the Tubbs Fire that swept through Santa Rosa, CA, October 9, 2017. Thankfully all were safe yet, I was stunned at the loss, not just of her beautiful home but the things that were the storehouse of her memories of travels and people and experiences that could never be reclaimed.

And so today I find myself back again reflecting on the fire that gutted the roof, the steeple and still to be determined damage at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris this past Monday evening. I was glued to the news, then I just couldn’t watch.

What touched me deeply was the number of folks who posted pictures of the Cathedral from our trip in November 2015. It was a magical trip on oh so many levels. It spoke to me once again of the importance of connection and friendship. In the posting and subsequent comments, we were unconsciously reaching out to each other as if to say, we were there! Our friendship and connection validated our memories, reinforced our friendships.

Originally the church was quite small, but it was deemed that a grander more impressive looking cathedral be built. In 1160, the old was demolished and three years later the cornerstone was laid for the new. It took over 200 years to build and it was the finest model of the Gothic era construction with its massive flying buttresses, stained glass, and vast interior space and ceilings that seemed to reach to the heavens.

Did you know that there are a number of Cathedrals (and smaller churches) in France named Notre Dame for the term means “Our Lady.” We visited several of them: Lyon (Notre-Dame de Fourvière – “it’s complicated!”), Bayeux(Notre-Dame de Bayeux – Nov. 11 high mass), and Paris.

Yes, it is wonderful people have stepped up to finance the repairs yet, the ways of construction in 1200 are not our ways – something will be lost, even as something will be gained. Yet, the one thing that will forever live in our hearts is the day we walked her sacred path, and the knowing that there is a collective memory of that day, that experience, that forever binds us together.