Few natural disasters have affected the unlettered field hands at the Blaska Experimental Work Farm as the burning of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We’re still sorting out why that should be. Partly because of the Catholic heritage. A bit because we are francophiles here at the Manor. Certainly, of having seen the majesty of the place up close and in person and feeling, probably, what they must have felt some time near its completion in 1345 — overwhelmed.
Mankind needs to be overwhelmed; s/he needs to be something greater than oneself; if there were not a God we should have to invent Him lest we succumb to hubris. Tens of thousands of nameless artisans and common laborers came and went but grabbed a piece of heaven on the way.
There is about the cathedral something immortal, even today. It still stands, albeit greatly damaged. Notre Dame is Paris, along with the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe but much more ancient. It was old when Columbus sailed. Those of us who identify as conservative (Blaska IS the Diversity!) value permanence. There is a responsibility there to the past, to the builders, and to the future — to bequeath that heritage. This is our inheritance; cherish it, use it wisely, leave it to the next generation.
The cathedral is what it means to be French, whose national identity is as much under assault today as any of the old and famous states, in Churchill’s parlance. The great gothic edifice is to France as the original parchment of the Founding documents is to us here in the U.S.A. Which is the good news.
I do thank God, in the very literal sense, that this was not an act of political terrorism. Somewhere, some workman in one of the suburbs of Paris is wondering if it was he who forgot to switch off that glue heat gun and maybe said a “Hail Mary.”
‘The attic was known as ‘The Forest’
Made up of tinder-dry eight centuries-old wood. from the New York Times: Inside the cavernous cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, the last Mass of the day was underway on Monday of Holy Week when the first fire alarm went off. It was 6:20 p.m., 25 minutes before the heavy wooden doors were scheduled to close to visitors for the day.
A predict: France will rally around Macron to rebuild.