But France, like most of Europe and the European diaspora in the rest of the West, is deeply sunk in attitudes that reject tradition and embrace anti-tradition, and especially a fierce anti-clerical sentiment, not just in church architecture but in almost every type of belief and field of endeavor. Maybe, however, there is something profound to be read into what drove Parisians watching the blaze to sing hymns together and pray aloud in public. Maybe, just maybe the atavistic sorrow unleashed by yesterday’s tragedy will cause Parisians, and others equally moved, to take a deeper look into their souls.

An essay I read this morning by classical scholar Wes Callihan seemed to express that hope in the form of regret:

When a tragedy happens quickly, we notice and are rightly shocked. When it happens slowly, those who even notice at all are mocked or ignored. We’ve all seen the pictures in the news by now of the bare ruined choirs where late the sweet birds sang in the interior of Notre Dame. That charred, smoking mess we see is our civilization as it has been for the last 200 years. We do not live in Old Western Culture, not even in the twilight of it. We live in the cold, charred ruins. We ought to grieve, with real tears, over the sudden demise of Our Lady of Paris. But we ought likewise to be grieving every bit as much over the long, slow, agonizing demise of the culture she watched over protectively and then sadly for so long.

Sitatet av Wes Callihan gikk rett i hjertet på meg, og slik støtte gjør uendelig godt. Selv lever jeg i den første av himmelengene, Mjøslandets høylys, og føler det på akkurat samme vis når jeg skuer opp til Holmstadengen, hvor bygningene ligger lik to sorgtunge øyne og ser utover landskapet de voktet så stolt, men nå så sorgtungt. Grenda mi blomstret opp under husmannstroen, som ikke kun var en tro, men en kultur, av de fremste allmenninger Norge har sett. I enga mi lever vi nå i de kalde, forkullede ruinene av mine forfedres mesterverk. Fordi jeg sørger over tapet av engene og husmannstroen, hånes og ignoreres jeg, ikke kun av Anti-Dahl og totiban, men selv av engenes og husmannstroens barn. For de ser ikke det langsomme forfallet, de ser ikke deres forakt for husmannstroen, og kaller sitt forfall for framskritt.

Grenda vår, himmelporten til Totenåsen, var husmannsfolkets mesterverk, vårt Chartres i steinrøysa oppunder Totenåsen. Dette vil selvsagt bli avvist av de som lever i Mjøslandet i dag, på samme vis som de avviser og forakter all tradisjon, og enhver som lovpriser husmannstroen.

Architecture Here and There

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 7.18.10 PM.png Firemen peer into the nave of Notre Dame toward end of yesterday’s fire.

Notre Dame lives!

Yesterday was pure concentrated stress and sadness – the horror! – watching the spire teeter and fall, then seeing the fire creep along what remained of the roof toward the betowered west façade, and then, as flames attacked its south tower, hearing the French interior ministry prepare us for the horrid possibility that 400 “pompiers” might somehow fail, after stouthearted hours of battle, to save Our Lady of Paris.

At last, checking news updates on the way to bed, I learned that the fire was under control, and that damage might be far less than would naturally be imagined from the evidence of one’s own eyes that had tortured us all day.

Screen Shot 2019-04-16 at 11.07.07 PM.png View of damage to ceiling, whose strength, buttressed by the medieval technical innovation of rib vaulting, protected the nave below from debris…

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