Living History: the Next Chapter of the Notre Dame Cathedral

My sister and I couldn’t help giggling when we heard the sudden, overwhelming rumble of the organ pipes. If you’ve experienced the heart-pounding sensation of this particular instrument, perhaps our visceral response will resonate.

Sunday Service, April 7th, 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris | photo by Jennifer Koskinen
a sampling of the organ music during Sunday mass, April 7, 2019
Fireboat in the River Siene Monday, April 8th 2019, one week before the fire of Notre Dame Cathedral | photo by Jennifer Koskinen

“Breaking News: A fire has broken out at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.”

I jumped up from my desk to face the television and for the next several hours couldn’t tear myself away from the coverage. As the flames became more bright, the situation became more dark.

“The next hour will be critical in learning what, if anything, can be saved.”

As a student of art and architectural history, I sent out a prayer for this iconic piece of our story. As a human being, I sent out a prayer that no one was hurt in the fire. Prayers which were undoubtedly sent with those of millions of people all around the globe. I may not subscribe to a religion, but I do believe in the power of collective intention. Call it prayer, call it hope, it is one of our foundational sources of human connection.

Architectural timeline as displayed inside the Notre Dame Cathedral, April 7, 2019 | iphone photos by Jennifer Koskinen
Mesa Verde Cliff Palace | photo by J.Koskinen

As a student of art history, it was the evolving story of this cathedral that I held onto as I watched the images of the burning rooftop and spire.

The idea of the evolution of the Notre Dame became like a grounding ember of hope in my mind. Hope for a new chapter in the life-line of the cathedral’s story.

I pondered the fact that there would now be a next panel to display on the timeline. And that we were watching that moment of history in real time.

Evolution, after all, is part of the cyclical destiny of an iconic and globally significant structure of this age. In the evolution of a building is a piece of the story of humanity, told in art and architecture.

This is the story of a living, breathing cathedral.

And as long as there are humans to love her, her story will not end.

the crossing at the Notre Dame Cathedral, April 7, 2019

photographer | writer | creative

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